Colin Kaepernick, blah blah blah. Has one person ever gotten so much media attention for doing so little? Doubtful. As we get closer to November, Democrats might suggest Trump as a contender. The basket of deplorables would point to Clinton. Regardless, the very spirit of America is at stake–but that wasn’t lost on the fans at this football game.
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Week two of the NCAA college football season held some seriously anticlimactic games. There were few upsets, and fewer genuinely competitive games. TCU fans are still reeling over the spanking they received from Arkansas (in double-overtime, no less). Yet there was one game worth watching. The University of Tennessee Volunteers played the Virginia Teach Hoakies at a quasi-neutral racetrack in Bristol, Tennessee.
UT has a long tradition of patriotism. Their mascot is the Volunteer, a name derived from the thousands of Tennesseans who showed up voluntarily for the Mexican American War in 1812.
The Hoakies, while a less nationalistically pugilistic mascot, still have a tremendous military tradition. So national pride is a solid part of both programs, and something both teams can agree on.
More than that, though, was a record breaking number of fans that showed up to the re-purposed NASCAR track on the border of Tennessee and Virginia. More than 150,000 fans. And when the colors spread across the stadium, the sea of obnoxious orange was momentarily much more colorful.
Jennifer Nettles, sang the anthem. Reports from the game said that there were no sitters. Everyone stood. That’s something, considering how viral the anthem protests have become.
And I have to hand it to both teams. When faced with the simple choice about how to handle the patriotic nature of the game, both teams stood behind the country that made this game possible. We’re certainly not a perfect nation, yet we’ll grow stronger standing together than we ever will sitting down.