Sunday, October 12, 2008

Time for a change?

So, apparently I have more blog readers than I thought. As the days go by, I've received so many complaints that I have neglected to blog. With that said, please accept my sincere's nice to know some people look forward to my "words of...wisdom?" Hopefully since I have more time on my hands I'll be able to post more often. Keep checking back and thanks for your support!!

So, with lots of thought, this round, I've decided to go with a popular topic. Tennessee Football. Well, more or less, Phillip Fulmer and Tennessee Football. Or lack of Tennessee Football, however you want to look at it. I have my opinion on what needs to change with Tennessee Football, but I'll save it for the end of this blog. All I really want to do, is throw out some numbers and let you make a decision (as if you already didn't have one). Without delay, here we go...Phillip Fulmer and Tennessee Football.
Everything I discuss from here on out, will encompass Phil Fulmers career at Tennessee as a head coach. In other words, everything from 1992 until now. Here is the raw data, with my comments in yellow:

Phil Fulmers career record at Tennessee (1992-2008):
Wins: 144
Losses: 49
Not too bad eh? He has won almost right at 75 percent of his games. Lets break that down though...from here on out, what I'm going to do, is present Fulmers record up until the National Championship year of 1998. Then I will compare those numbers to his post National Championship numbers. (1998 through 2008) Here goes...

Phil Fulmers record 1992-1998:
Wins: 62
Losses: 11
Again, not to bad. From 92-98 he won roughly 85 percent of his games.

Phil Fulmers bowl record 1992-1998:
Wins: 5
Losses: 2
Not bad...5 out of 7. I don't know any coach in America who wouldn't take that record in a bowl game.

Phil Fulmer's average wins 1992-1998: 9.5
Phil Fulmer's average losses 1992-1998: 1.5
Not shabby at all. Pretty good in fact.

Polls? from 1992 through 1998, Tennessee averaged 9th place in the national polls.
This isn't bad either. Anytime a team can average a top 10 spot over 7 years, is a good thing.

Now, lets look at SEC numbers:

Phil Fulmers record in the SEC 1992-1998:
Wins: 43
Losses: 7
This is pretty awesome. Between 92 and 98, he won roughly 88 percent of his conference games.

Phil Fulmer averaged 6 wins per season (92-98) in the Southeastern Conference.
Phil Fulmer averaged 1 loss per season (92-98) in the Southeastern Conference.
Again, not too shabby.


Now, lets remember those numbers (or check back with them for reference when we need to) and look at his numbers from 1999 until 2008. As you will see, the difference is pretty drastic.

Phil Fulmers record 1999-2008:
Wins: 82
Losses: 38
As you can see, the number of losses drastically went up. How far? Well, he went from winning 85 percent of his games pre 1998 and now since then has only won 68 percent of his games. Read it again if you need to. Since 1998, Fulmer has won only 68 percent of the time.

Phil Fulmers bowl record 1999-2007:
Wins: 3
Losses: 6
Wow! A pretty big difference here huh? He went from winning 5 of 7 pre championship to winning 3 of nine post championship. Thats around 33 percent. Thats right, since 1998, Phil Fulmer has won a whopping 33 percent of his bowl games. Thats down from winning around 75 percent of bowl games pre championship.

Phil Fulmer's average wins 1999-2008: 8.8
Phil Fulmer's average losses 1999-2008: 4
Again, wow. Fulmer went from averaging 1.5 losses to averaging 4 losses. I don't think anything more needs to be said about this. It speaks for itself.

Polls? From 1999-2007, Tennessee has averaged 20th in the national polls. Of those years, there were 3 years where Tennessee didn't even finish the season in the top 25.
Did anyone see what I just wrote? Tennessee averaged 20th place in the polls and didn't even finish in the polls on 3 occasions. Their average dropped from 9th pre championship to 20th post championship. Their average dropped 11 spots. Yuk.

It gets uglier...keep reading (If you can stand it)

Here are the SEC numbers post 1998 Championship:

Phil Fulmers record in the SEC 1999-2008:
Wins: 50
Losses: 24
I can't help but say it! Fulmer went from just 7 total losses pre championship to 24 losses post championship. Averages? Read on...

Phil Fulmer averaged 5.5 wins 1999-2007 in the Southeastern Conference.
Phil Fulmer averaged 2.5 losses 1999-2007 in the Southeastern Conference.
Again, more losses in the conference. This is pretty bad. Since 2005 alone, Tennessee has lost 13 conference games. Since 2005 they are 14-13 in conference games. One win above 50 percent. That is sad folks. Really sad.

For the second time in 4 years, it already looks as if Tennessee and Phil Fulmer are going to have at least 5 losses and at the rate that they are going this year, it may be the second time in 4 years they go without a bowl invitation. Time will tell on that one. Here are a couple more interesting statistics:

Between 1992 and 1998, Tennessee finished first(3 times) and second (3 times) every year.
Since then, between 1999 and now, Tennessee has finished first (outright) once, tied for first twice, finished second twice, and tied for second twice. They also finished third once, fouth once and currently they are tied for sixth place in the Southeastern Conference.

Tennessee and Philip Fulmer have not won an SEC championship in 10 years and also have not won a National Championship in 10 years.
So there it is. In black and white. The numbers say it all. Pre National Title, Tennessee was one of the most consistent teams in the country. Post championship however, Tennessee has been one of the most, if not THE most inconsistent team in the country. They consistently under preform and I'm not even going to get into the whole recruiting decline. Fact of the matter is, even when Tennessee does get a good talented team, the talent is not developed as it should be.
Tennessee has also become one of the most undisciplined teams in the country. It seems every day now, a player is being suspended or arrested. Especially in the off season. Fulmer has never been a huge disciplinarian, so I don't know why I expect that to change...I guess that after it happens so much, you'd think the coach would do something to make it clear...crystal clear to his players that they either stay out of trouble or they are off the team. It has shown to not be an important item of coach Fulmers agenda. When Fulmer does impose punishment, he does so depending on what status you have on the team. If you are a starter, you punishment is much less severe than if you were on the second or third team. Don't believe me, check out the Knoxville Newspapers archives and see for yourself. It's unbelievable.
Now don't get me wrong, I have respect for Coach Fulmer and all he has done for the Volunteers in his tenure here. He has given alot of time and effort here and hec, he brought the fans the first National Championship they'd seen in almost 50 years. However, all good things do and must come to and end.
While Fulmer I believe is a good coach still, I just don't think he is good enough to coach in the SEC anymore. It's not that I think his level of coaching has gone down, it's just that the level of coaching in the SEC has gone up. I remember back in the "glory" days of Tennessee Football, you could count the "exceptional" coaches in the conference on one hand. You had Fulmer at Tennessee, Spurrier at Florida, really about all. Now look at what/who you have...There is Spurrier, Richt, Miles, Saban, Meyer and Tuberville, just to mention a few. All of whom I believe are better coaches than Phil Fulmer. He just is not at their level to compete any more. I don't know if I want to say the game has "passed him by" but I do think things here at Tennessee have gotten stale. Don't take my word for it, look at the numbers. Look at the record. I laid it out for you above. It's all there. The numbers don't lie.
Tennessee football is obviously in a major decline and it doesn't seem to be getting any better. A couple of years ago, I wasn't ready to jump on "fire Phil" bandwagon. I wanted to give him a chance to fix things. After all, I believe every good coach has his ups and downs and a coach like Fulmer deserves a chance to get back on track after a bad season. After all, just because you are a good coach, doesn't mean you don't have a bad season here or there. However, now I'm at the point where I think this is a problem that is beyond fixing unless the "powers that be" realize that a change needs to be made and needs to be made fast. Sometimes, being at one place for a long time can make you stale as a coach. I think a change would be good not only for Fulmer, but for Tennessee. They've been through the "motions" before, using Randy Sanders and much of the Tennessee offensive staff as scapegoats, but even after wholesale changes on the staff, the same team continued to show up. Fulmer can't hide from this for much longer and which each passing year, and with each passing game, it is becoming more and more evident.
As far as the "coaches can't control what goes on, on the field" argument, I don't buy it. A good coach, is also a good motivator. A good motivator can motivate a team to play with passion and heart. Alot of the intensity you see on the field starts with the coach. Another thing that starts with the coach is player development. Case in point is Jonathan Crompton. He was horrible to begin the 2008 campaign. How bad? Bad enough to warrant a quarterback change midway thorugh the season. Something that is happening more and more often in Tennessee. My biggest question is this...Crompton has been at Tennessee for 4 years now. 4 years. Why is it, that in 4 years, Tennessee couldn't develop this guy at all to be a QB? They had 4 years and couldn't get it done. He was playing like a freshman right out of high school. Not a redshirt junior that has been in the program for 4 years. This is just the tip of the iceberg on player development. All in all, yes, the coaches do have a say so in what goes on during the game on the field. It's their job to "coach" the players to do the right thing, make the right plays and handle themselves in a professional manner on and off the field. When none of these things happens, it comes back to the coaches. What are they doing wrong? Why is Fulmer and the coaching staff not motivating the players, developing them into the players they all have the potential to be?
There are alot of unanswered questions, but the biggest one in my mind, is how many of these years will it take to get a change at the top for Tennessee football. What will it take for Mike Hamilton to see that the fans in large are not happy and will not accept this mediocrity. I hope the end is near to this debacle that is currently Tennessee Football. Again, while I have all the respect in the world for coach Fulmer, I believe a trait of a good coach is knowing when to say when. When to hang up your hat, and when to move on. It's time to do what's in the best interest of the team, not what is in the best interest of yourself. Go out with a good reputation...if you wait any longer, you will tarnish what legacy you have here in big orange country. Take a look at your record. It's in constant decline. Neyland stadium is rarely full if ever anymore. Take a hint, see the writing on the wall and take it like a man. Bow out coach. Thank you for everything you've done, but please for the sake of the team and the reputation of Tennessee football, move on.
I would love to hear everyones comments on this article. What do you all think? And how is that for substance on a blog?

Until next time, there is always basketball season...and who'd have thunk it?

Monday, October 6, 2008

A Whirlwind of Updates...

In my first post since the end of July (2 whole months if your counting) I will update you on everything that has happened in my life as best I remember it. I have a bunch to write about, so this will be fairly brief and I will expand on some of the topics in the next few days. Either way, here goes...
My life for the past couple of months has been up and down and more than a few times it has been around and around and around...for the past few months I've been dealing with some big problems at work (I'll spare you the details) with the management in my department. Not just me, a lot of people I work with. Let just say work hasn't been the best of times and places in my life as of late. I ended up on the losing end of a battle with not only my manager at work, but with senior management as well along with the "be all, end all" HR department. Being on the losing end of that battle, also means losing my job, which happened about 2 weeks ago. God was just showing me though, that he was in control and had better things in store for me elsewhere. It is sad that sometimes it takes a big event like a job loss for God to get your attention and let you know that you do not lean on him enough. Point taken, as God has proved himself yet again. While the timing did not look good for a job loss (Is the timing ever good?) with my wife going back to school, God had things in control. In less than a week, I was offered another job with a much better company with much more stability and a smaller company, which means you get treated more like a person rather than a faceless employee. In the end, I'll be much happier as the job will be doing something I know I love to do and something I know I'm good at as it is something I have done before. Not to mention the fact that I will be making a bit more money, which is always good, especially since Liv and I are working hard to get out of debt.
Thats all I'll say about the work situation, other than the fact that God really taught me to lean on him more and trust him more. Something that I've failed to do recently. Remember that no matter what happens, God is always in control, even if you can't see it. God knows the master plan and we can only see a small part of the big picture.
So what else has been going on with me? Here is a whirlwind rundown of my life for the past couple of months:
I finally got my truck back as my dad has been borrowing it for the past 4 months for a job he's been doing....excited about that.
I am really getting geared up for a very important presidential race that is in high gear right now. I hope and pray that the American people have the knowledge to make the right choice. I believe this is the most important election of my life and I really fear for what could happen in this country, or too this country should Barak Huessein Obama be elected to the White House. This is NOT the man that needs to be running this country. While I am not super thrilled about John McCain, I do know that he would be a much better president and I know I would feel much safer with him in office. I am also super excited about Sarah Palin. A real person, who has a real life outside of politics and who has a real job. Something most politicians can not say. If you are reading this and undecided, let me encourage you to not just take these candidates at "face value". Don't just listen to what the "talking heads" on TV have to say. Research them yourself. Look at the issues and look at who would put the country first. The majority of the news media is horribly biased to the left, so if that is where you get your news, you need to take some time to dig into the "other side" and see what the McCain/Palin ticket has to offer. If you are a Christian like me, the choice is a nobrainer.
Lets see, what else is going in in my life...Christmas...oh yes...believe it or not, I have done some Christmas shopping. A gift for my parents is already taken care of as is one or 2 for my lovely wife. (No honey, I'll never tell you what it'll just have to wait)
Um...what else is there...oh yea...spiders. They've taken over my house. Not really, but kind of. I've never in my life seen the amount of spiders around my house as I have this year. They are literally everywhere. It's like we are being overrun! I have sprayed for them and killed many of them but they keep coming back stronger and in more numbers. It's almost like something out of the movie arachnaphobia. When I say they are everywhere, I mean it...they are all over the doors, windows, roof, porches, deck, steps, garage, work bench, hedges, plants, trees and on my way out to the mailbox today, I saw two bg webs in the grass. Flat webs bult horizontally in the grass. I've never seen the like.
Tennesse football is another story for another day. I don't want to delve into it right now...that wouldn't be for the best. I'll just say that it is going to take more than a change a QB to fix the football team. There is always basketball...and who would have thunk it.
Everything else...well, alot of stuff. Liv and I have found a new favorite singer (one of my fav's...I don't want to put her at the tip top as that is reserved for you know who), and her name is Brandi Carlile. If you haven't heard her, I suggest you give her a spin. Pretty cool. Liv and I have also gone MAC. Thats right, I'm writing this post right now using our new Macbook. As far as I can tell, I'll never go back to a PC. This is by far the best computer I've ever used. Superb. I finally got my garage cleaned out and we can park the car inside for the first time since our yard sale in early June!!
Last but not least (and I'm sure I'm leaving stuff out, but so what...there is just so much since I've posted last) for all you married couples, this may be a good idea if you don't already do this...Liv and I have limited our "TV time" to 2 or 3 nights a week. The rest of the time is "our" time. It's been the most awesome thing in the world. It's amazing how much you don't talk to each other when you are watching TV. It's nice to get back to spending time with your spouse and doing fun things other than the TV. Right now, we are almost through with a puzzle...I've almost forgotten about how fun those are!! God has truly blessed me with one of the most amazing women in the world. I don't know how I would make it without her and I don't know how I made it 25 years without her to begin with!
That'll about do it for now, keep checking back as there should be some great posts coming here in the next week or so. Until then, have a great one!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

My Burden to Carry

So, when I was growing up, I read allot of Spiderman comic books. I still have my collection to this day and I am darn proud of it. I remember always thinking that my name was just a few letters off, from being Peter Parker...just like Spiderman's alter ego. I always thought as a child that it would be neat to have the name Peter Parker, just like he did.

Then I grew up. I don't buy comics anymore, but I am still a Marvel fan. I love the Marvel hero movies that have become a staple at the theatre here in the past few years. It's neat to see the hero's I grew up and read about being projected larger than life at the movies.

The second big Marvel movie to come out was Spiderman. I was pumped. I think I saw it at the theatre at least 3 times. After that, Spiderman became more popular than ever-not only for comic book geeks but for the average movie goer as well. Since then, 2 more Spiderman movies have been made and a fourth one is being rumored to be in the works. The popularity of Spiderman and his alter ego Peter Parker is now through the roof compared to his popularity before he got a movie (or 3). Spiderman, along with Peter Parker is now a household name. I'm pretty sure you could go into about 90% of American homes these days and ask who Peter Parker is, and you'll be told (without hesitation) that he is Spiderman.

This is where my dilemma comes in. You name is Philip Parker and now on a daily basis, I get called Peter. For the most part, it's not intentional, but annoying all the same. I used to think it would be cool to have that name growing up, but now that it's my bane, I don't care much for it. I just want people to call me Philip. I don't just get this in one place. I get it at work, on the phone, in e-mails, at home, out in public, pretty much everywhere.

At work, I get e-mails and letters addressed to "Peter" or "Peter Parker." They don't bother to read my first name, and if they do, it doesn't click. All they see is a "P" and a "Parker" following it, and they assume it's Peter. It's not intentional, but it's almost like a natural reaction. People call me at work, clients and customers, all calling me Peter despite the fact that I answer the phone and say "Thank you for for calling, this is Philip." When I correct them, they always say they are sorry, and then wonder out loud where they got "Peter" from. I know exactly where they got it from...same place every other person gets it from. Those dadgum Spiderman movies.

Out in public, when I meet someone new, I always introduce myself, and the following verbal sparring takes place:

Philip: Hi, nice to meet you, I'm Philip Parker.
John Doe: Philip Peter Spiderman...I get it.
Philip: Yes, I get that all the time, so...
(Being interrupted)
John: That's so people call you Peter all the time?
Philip: Yes, believe it or not, every day.
John: I'll have to remember that!
Philip: [sigh]

That's pretty much how it goes. Every day. Every time I meet someone new. Of course, then it's not long before they figure out that my initials are "PP". That's not fun either.

Today, at work, I had a new one. I got a reply e-mail back from a client, and I was happy to see it addressed to "Philip". Then I looked further, and realized it was actually addressed to "Philip Peters". Unbelievable.

This has got to be the most annoying thing in the me at least. What I once thought would be cool, I now find makes me want to pull my hair out and set my body on fire. Not really, but you get the point don't you? It never ceases to amaze me at the daily number of people who call me Peter. Most of the time, they don't even know why they called me that. It's that natural of a reaction for them. I guess it speaks to the popularity of the good 'ole web slinger, but it definitely doesn't speak to their popularity with me.

At this point in time, I've just come to realize this is my burden to bear in life. My only hope is that the memory of Spiderman eventually fades from everyone's memory and eventually one day, people will begin to realize that my name is actually Philip. Exactly how I sign all of my e-mails and letters, exactly how I answer the phone and exactly how I introduce myself. I know to some of you this may sound trivial, but trust me, after the 428,572,989th time that you are mistaken for Peter, I promise it gets old. Until then, I'm sure I'll continue to be tortured by this. All I can do is pray it doesn't one day send me over the edge where I really do go nuts, dress like a piƱata and walk into a mexican birthday party.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Look to the Future, Treasure the Past...A citizens view of Seymours past, present and future

Seymour sure is a lot different now than it used to be. Many spaces around town, once open, are now filled with the hustle and bustle of businesses and people, all in the name of progress. In my opinion, the most notable difference is the area now occupied with the Kroger shopping center. I remember the great open field that used to be in it's place. A memory of a piece of land that once contributed to Seymour being known more for it's farmland than it's busy, growing community.
I remember those weekly trips to the Pixie Drive-In, when my grandmother would pick me up from school in her Chevrolet Station Wagon and take me to get a milkshake and a corndog (if I had behaved at school of course). Those were the good ole' days. I remember when I turned 16 and got my drivers license, my friends and I would gather at Collins Food Mart after school for a burger and a milkshake and if our parents didn't have chores for us at home, we would often stay to hear the older folks of the area pick bluegrass tunes on their guitars and banjos. To this day, I still haven't found anywhere that served up a better burger than the folks at Collins during it's heyday.
I remember not having to wonder where we were going to rent a movie at on Friday nights. There were no Blockbusters or video rentals in grocery stores in those days. Back then, for a Friday night movie, there was always the "Video Tape Barn." The store is long gone, but the building that housed it still stands next to the Dollar General Market, and now houses a pawn shop. I don't know that I've ever been in that pawn shop, but I do know that every time I pass that building, I remember going there as a kid with my father and picking out the latest and neatest movies! I remember being so excited when "Video Ventures" opened up on the spot where Walgreen's now stands. It was at the time the biggest movie rental store I'd ever seen.
I remember weekly trips to the grocery store with my mother. No, not to Food City or to Kroger, but to White's Store. I'm sure a lot of you remember the old grocer that was housed in the old Food City/Dollar General Market building back in the day. I remember going on vacation with my family to Florida, and being shocked that there were no other White's Store along the way. At that age, I thought that since there was one in Seymour, there should be one everywhere!
I remember as a child, going with my folks to drop off the car for service at Ellis Auto Service and those friendly conversations with the late Ollie Ellis as he discussed our vehicle with my father. I remember while we were waiting on our car, we would pass the time eating pizza at Bill's Pizza, which was located in the building behind Krystal that now houses Buster Norton's wrecker service. It was eventually bought out by Bill and "Bills Pizza" took it's place but like so many other joints in Seymour, it too fell by the wayside. I remember lots more about the Seymour that was...stopping for ice cream at the Seymour Dairy Delight, and then making a pit stop at Charlie's Market (now Exxon/Taco Bell) for a gallon of milk before heading home.
One of my all time favorite places to eat, since I was young, is still in business today. I remember Friday nights when my mother would stop on the way home from work and pick up a yummy corned beef hoagie from White Start Market on Boyd's Creek Hwy. I still relish the flavor of a steamed bun and corned beef smothered with mustard and smoked cheddar cheese. It's places like this that allow me to still hold on to the memories of a Seymour that was.
Compared to back then, Seymour is a different place now. Chapman Highway is now crowded on both sides with businesses. The sprawling mini-metropolis stretches on Chapman from the Highland View shopping center and Bower Field, all the way to Floyds Market as you head to Sevierville. Sevierville Road (Hwy 411) and Boyd's Creek Hwy are no different. It seems these days, that every few weeks, a new business is going up or an old business is changing hands. Stoplights are becoming a commonplace in Seymour as are fast food restaurants and grocery stores. If you would have told me 20 years ago, that Seymour would have 3 grocery stores, I'd have said that you were crazy! Now days it seems like you can't drive anywhere without seeing a bank, a church or a doctors office.
Seymour now has 2 newspapers. The Seymour Herald and the old Tri-County News is still a staple in what is Seymour's treasured history. If you travel a mile or so down Sevierville Road from Chapman Highway, you will see the headquarters of the Herald at the growing Seymour Business Park, at the foot of one of Seymour's oldest neighborhoods, Cherokee Hills. Helping anchor the park is one of the best joints to grab a pizza anywhere this side of Knoxville-American Pie. Other businesses are beginning to see the value of the area and have started gobbling up office space at the Seymour Business Park. (I'm waiting for a bakery or sweet shop to open up there myself to feed my sweet tooth)
Look past the stop light at Chapman and Boyd's creek and you will see lots of new business booming. The new Food City, the new Auto Zone, and the soon to be "Sevier Pawn and Loan" building being built where the old Dairy Delight used to stand. It seems like every week a new doctors office is going in at Peacock crossing. Doctors offices are not the only new thing around... Yamato Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi bar in the Kroger shopping center seems a bit out of place in Seymour, but it rivals the best of the best in Knoxville, and by the looks of things, it's here to stay. Thats a good thing considering that I remember when it seemed like a curse to open a restaurant in Seymour. I've seen so many restaurants in my day come and go after only a short time, but there seems to be a changing tide in Seymour. More upscale dining is making it's way to Seymour and I'd say Yamato's will just be the tip of the iceberg. The more people move to Seymour and the more it grows, the more the demand for nicer restaurants and shops will be.
For those of you who are new to Seymour, maybe this article will be a window of sorts for you to travel back and see what it was like 20 or 30 years ago. For now, enjoy it for what it has become. A place where people can belong, and a place where old and new residents alike can feel at home. Seymour has had some glory days in the past, but I believe it's best days are yet to come. For all those folks out there who have seen Seymour from the days of old until the present, you all have many stories and memories to share with kids and grandkids. Treasure those memories and don't let them go. A wise man once said, "Long for the future, but always make sure to treasure the past." Here's to you Seymour.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Olympic Games

On August 8, all eyes will once again be on the Olympics as Bejing, China takes their turn at hosting the worlds greatest games.
Every 4 years, I find myself trying to find some Olympic sport that can hold my attention long enough to watch. Among the many events (302 events in 28 sports to be exact) there are a few that I find myself engrossed in despite the over abundance of "feel good stories" that go along with every event. Those are great by the way if there are one or two over the whole event, but it's almost every five minutes and you are seeing a back story of an athelete who overcame insurmountable odds to represent his or her country in the games. They do it so often that it's almost like they are making the stuff up. Here's a thought NBC...just about every one of us, has had to overcome something to make it where we are today. Pick a couple extra ordinary stories and go with them, but don't oversaturate the broadcasts with hundreds of feel good stories per night. It gets old.
Enough of that though...the point is, there are a few sports that I enjoy watching unfold, and here they are in no particular order...

1. Track and Field: This is the only time I will watch Track and Field. It's really the only time I care about it. It's neat yes, but for some reason, your normal run of the mill (no pun intended) track and field hold no meaning compared to the Olympics. I love watching the fasted people in the world race each other...I love seeing the pole vaulters, and I love the's just great fun!

2. Basketball (Mens): I'm intrigued by the USA team that has lost this event the past few times. It mezmorizes me every 4 years because it's amazing to see a team like ours with such talent squander away a win because the players don't know how to play as a team. They are all usually made up of stars who don't "play well with others" because in their own minds, they are each the "Star" of the team and therefore should be the teams "go to" player. Too many selfish USA players almost make me want to root for someone else who has a team of unselfish players. They also all think they can get away with not giving alot of effort. They just go with the mindset that they are the best no matter what, and they think they don't have to try and that attitude gets them beat in the end. I end up rooting for them in the end, but when they lose, I can't help but to have seen it coming.

3. Basketball (Womens): To me, Olympic wise, the women are much more fun to watch and much more easier to root for. It's because they play as a team and play hard without giving up. They may play below the rim and that may not be exciting for some, but it's neat to see a team work as a team and win.

(Basketball Side Note): I liked it much better when the USA basketball teams were comprised of college athletes, not pro's.)

4. Gymnastics (Women): Sue me. For some reason, and I don't know how they do it, NBC turns this event into the most dramatic thing I've ever seen. Once again, this is another event that I only watch one every 4 years. Like track and field, outside of the games, it just doesn't carry any meaning with me.

5. Diving (mens or womens): There is just something neat about people diving from really high up and making very little splash.

6. Soccer (mens or womens): My favorite sport on the plant. I'm a year round soccer fan and soccer match watcher. Don't even bother to talk to me or call me during a soccer match. Go USA!!

7. Beach Volleyball (women): Do they even have beach volleyball for men? If so, I don't watch for obvious reasons. The women look much better playing beach anything than men do. Aside from that, I'm not even sure this is a sport that needs to be at the olympics...I never hear about it any other time.

That about does it. These are about the only events you'll catch me watching. The rest of the time I try to figure out how table tennis made it to the olympics as a sport. I mean, isn't this just a basement/garage game? Whats next? Fooseball? Hopscotch?

Until then, catch you later!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

South Knoxville Past

I was driving through South Knoxville last night, and as I passed all the sights and sounds that make up the south side of town, I got to thinking about the South Knoxville of my past. Places and things that had come and gone, and places that are still there and will probably always be there. Here is a rundown of what went through my head as I drove home last night...

...Man, how I miss Palace Lanes. For those of you who don't know, Palace Lanes, was a bowling alley in South Knoxville, close to the intersection of Chapman Hwy and Stone road. I remember growing up as a young child, I spent many Friday and Saturday nights there. My dad was a youth pastor, and of course one staple youth group activity is bowling. Now, I wasn't old enough to be in the youth group, but I went along, and I'm pretty sure that is the first place I ever got my hands on a bowling ball. I can still close my eyes and picture what it looked like on the inside and smell the burgers and fries cooking at the snack bar. One day, it closed down...I'm not sure why, and I was too young to read the paper and find out. Alas the building still remains...A reminder of an old haunt that I wish were still around. In it's place now is the "Southern Car Emporium" (I don't know so don't ask), but the sign still stands...a bowling ball and a bowling pin atop a beacon left for those like me who treasure remnants of some memories.

...Good 'Ole Tennessee Valley Skating Rink. Man was this place a South Knoxville Staple. Still open until just a couple years ago, this was another place that I frequented as a young 'en. It was close to the intersection of Chapman Hwy and John Sevier Hwy. A youth group activity must, again I went plenty when I was a kid with my dads youth group, I went for countless friends birthday parties and then of course I went plenty with my own youth group when I got older. Lock ins there were always fun! I can still remember the joy of ordering fries and air heads from the concession stand and of course, the carpeted walls. While this place sometimes hosted the scummy people of South Knox, it was still a fun clean place to go and skate. Now, it's torn down, and in it's place a new shopping center arises. Not even a building to look at and remember anymore here folks...just memories.

...Putt Putt Golf and Games. The sign still stands, as does the building on Chapman Hwy across from Burger King and Nova Information Systems. It closed down when I was still very young, but I do remember going for many birthday parties as a child. For the longest time, this building stood vacant, and I had dreams that someone would take it over and remodel it, and clean up the old putt putt course, but alas it never happened. Now, it's taken over by Nova, who has taken over most of the buildings around that stretch of Chapman Hwy...

...Speaking of Nova taking over buildings in that area, I remember 3 stores that once were places I went frequently...most of the time with my mom or grandma, but still pretty frequently. There was the Lowe's on the left side of Chapman Hwy...closed down, and eventually taken over by Nova...there was Kroger and K-Mart on the right side of Chapman Hwy, both now taken over by Nova. Kroger closed down when the store in Seymour was built, and K-Mart pretty much went the way of the Buffalo. I still remember the joy and excitement of going to that K-Mart for an Icee and some pop corn...Oh, the good 'ole days....

Well, reminiscing about old times pretty much took up the rest of my drive home last night, and while there are many other places I could list, these are just a couple that top my list. If you have lived here your whole life and are somewhat familiar with South Knoxville, I hope this has brought back some fond memories. If not, I hope it gives you a glimpse into the past of what used to be.

One of these days, I'm going to write about the old haunts in Pigeon Forge that have fallen by the wayside...Magic World anyone??

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Blast from the past

This morning, my wife and I rolled out of bed, and our plans were to go to Gatlinburg for no other reason, than to eat at one of my favorite Pizzarias-NY Pizza. It is a spectacular pizza joint, located on the bottom of the Mountain Mall, right next to Wendy's. It looks like a hole in the wall, but I promise, they make one of the best pies in the world. I was psyched.
Notice I said that was OUR plans. Higher powers had something else in mind for the Parkers today. Before we went to Gatlinburg, we had to make a quick stop at the local Kroger store. Our bank has a branch inside and they are open till 2pm on Saturdays. All we needed to do was to go inside, deposit a check, and get some cash for our Gatlinburg pizza trip, and then we would be on our way. Or so we thought.
Having banked at this bank for some time, I knew both the employees working today. They asked how we were and what we were up to, and we of course told them that we were fine and on our way to Gatlinburg for some of the best pizza around! One of the bankers then asked if I'd ever eaten at Elidios Pizza. I told him I'd never heard of it, and he told me I'd have to go sometime, and told me where it was at. I said thanks, and we talked a bit more about Gatlinburg and the pizza place there. Then it happened. The bank employee told me that the pizza place he was talking about was run by the same guy that used to have a pizza place at East Towne Mall (Knoxville Center Mall). It was called Cosimos Pizza.
I couldn't believe it. I was shocked. Back in the day, Cosimos was my favorite pizza! I didn't get it that often, because it was at the mall, and it was like 4 dollars per slice, but when I was there, that is where I chose to eat. 2 slices of pepperoni and a soda. Cosimos even made my top 3 pizzaria's! Then, about 8 or 9 years ago, Cosimos closed down, and was replace by Sbarro, the same pizzaria that is at West Town Mall. (YUK)
Since then, every time I go to the mall, I get kind of depressed because there is no more Cosimos Pizza. I always have to settle for something else, and it's never as good as Cosimos used to be. I was sure it was lost forever, only accessable in my memories. Little did I know of the events that were to happen on June 7th of 2008.
The employee of the bank, continued to tell me that the guy that owned Cosimos, left because he opened his own store. It' kind of a hole in the wall, he said, but as we had both already talked about, sometimes, those hole in the wall pizzaria's are the best. He's been there for 8 or 9 years now, every since he left the food court at the mall.
This changed everything. Suddenly, our trip to Gatlinburg was in jepordy. My wife had never had the joy of tasting a pizza from Cosimos, and it's been at least 8 years since I have had a delectable slice of pie from Cosimos, so on a dime, I decided that our Gatlinburg trip would have to wait for another day. Today, we were going to Knoxville to eat a pizza pie that I haven't had in years.
We got there around 2:30, after the lunch rush and before the dinner rush, so it wasn't too busy. It was a hole in the wall, just like we had been told. We went to the counter to order, and low and behold, I saw a face I hadn't seen in at least 8 years. I can't tell you his name, as I only know him as the Cosimos guy, but that was him! In the flesh. I was so excited. The prices were great too! Gone were the 4 dollar slices of pie, and in there place was 1.85 slices. We of course weren't going to settle for a slice. We ordered a whole pie. Not just a whole pie, and XL pie. 18 inches of pure circular pizza bliss with slices so big they can't fit on a plate. All this for only 12.95. Thats right...for an 18 inch XL pizza!! It was awesome! The flavor was the same, everything about the pizza was the same. Size, taste, look, it all brought back floods of mall pizza memories that I thought were gone forever. It was all back again.
No need to say this, but this was the best day I've had in a long time. I feel as though I found a long lost friend. I know it sounds silly, just being a pizza joint and all, but for me, it was an awesome, unexpected blast from the past. And trust me...I'll be back. And this time, it won't take another 8 or 9 years. It'll be alot sooner than that!
If you wanna try it out, go ahead. I recommend. It's back on my top 3 pizzaria list. It's at the corner of Callahan Drive and Central Ave. Pike. It's called Elidios Pizza. And it's phenominal. (Let me know if you go...I wanna go back soon!)

Friday, May 30, 2008

Remix This...

Ok, it's sure been a while, but many things are to blame...the arrival of summer mostly, and probably some laziness on my part. I've had writers block, so sue me. Either way, I'm here once again (much to the excitement of a few people-mainly Terri) and I am ready to jump back on my goes the name of this blog.

So this entry will mainly be about things that shouldn't. Thats right. Just a short list of things I've compiled in my small but rather bloated head that I think deserve attention...or don't deserve it as it were. At this point, I've confused myself, but things will clear out in a'll all make sense.

On to the subject...things that are annoying (to me)...

Numero Uno (I can't believe I just used Spanish-thats against my of a sudden an idea for another creed!!). Never mind the Spanish...let me just stick to numbers.

1. Remixes: I have yet to hear a song remix that I like. The original song was fine, keep it that way. There is no need to release a "remix" of an already released song. They are all horrible mixes. Especially the ones that are put to dance music. Those are the worst. If I'd have wanted to hear "From this Moment" sung to the tune of "Rhythm is a Dancer" I'd have gone to...I don't know, wherever they play that. My point is, don't do it. Leave the song as is. It's especially annoying when an artist releases a whole album of nothing but remixed songs. Whats worse, is that when they do this, it usually means one of 2 things. Either that they are at the end of their career and there albums are no longer good, or that they are counting that as an album causing you the fan to have to wait another year or so before an actual "new" album is released. JUST SAY NO TO REMIXES.

2. 99.9% of Cover Songs: Ok...I know I'm going back some years, but John Michael Montgomery's version of "I Swear" was fine. And original. I didn't need Boys to Men to cover it. Thats just an example, but 99.9 % of song covers are horrible. Here is a thought...why don't you be original and SING YOUR OWN SONGS. If you don't have the talent to write a song, and nobody will write one for you, GET OUT OF THE BUSINESS. There are a few notable exceptions, but for the most part, covers stink.

3. Say "Thank You": When I am driving down the road/interstate and you are having a hard time getting over, and I am nice enough to slow down to let you over, at least give a "thank you" wave. It's common courtesy. There....short but sweet.

4. Dogs jumping: If I come to visit, and you have a dog, under no circumstances is it ok to allow the dog to jump all over me...or any other visitor for that matter. Train your dog to be somewhat civil. It's not hard. It's called a smack on the nose and a "NO NO". Trust me they get the picture-I have two (dogs not pictures.) Kudo's by the way to my friend Hayden who has a well behaved dog. Way to go Nala!

5. Don't overdo it: I just got back from lunch. I went to the McFast Food place, and ordered a chicken sandwich, only Mayo. That means only mayonaise. No problem there, except that they put enough mayo on my sandwich to coat the entire population of a small country. (yuk). This is an ongoing problem at EVERY fast food joint. If you get the sandwich as is with no changes, its fine, but as soon as you order only mayo or only ketchup, they feel that since thats all your getting on your sandwich, they need to overcompensate you with the condiment you are getting. WRONG. This is the most annoying thing in the world. I oder my Krystals with Mustard only. What do I get? I get a mustard sandwich with a slight burger taste. I order my burgers with ketchup only. What do I get? I get a ketchup sandwich with a slight taste of a burger. Same with the chicken sandwich mentioned above. Dear McFast Fooders; Cool it with the condements. Really.

Well folks (or just Terri who may be my only fan), I'm outta here for today, but I promise...more entry's soon. I'm back in the swing of things now. The things above are just things that have really gotten to me this week as I drive around town, and ate and went to peoples houses. I'm pretty sure they are shared sentiments though.

More to come...keep checking back!!

Monday, March 31, 2008

My Top 25 MOVIES

In this new blog feature, created by me of course, I will from time to time publish a list of my favorite things. I will call it "My Favorites" and it will be just that...A list of my top favorite things.

In this first edition I will tackle movies. I hope you enjoy, and by all means, comment if you agree, disagree and let me know if you feel like I missed something good! Here goes!! (These are in random order)

1. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
I thought this movie was spectacular. Great characters, a great story line and a great soundtrack made for one of the most memorable movies I've seen. The two sequels were so-so. More of an afterthought. I try not to think of this as a "trilogy" and I don't think it was intended to be that. It was intended to stand alone and it does that beautifully.

2. Last of the Mohicans
I think this is Daniel Day Lewis' best movie. A very dramatic movie and a compelling love story set against the backdrop of the French and Indian war and based from the novel by James Fenimore Cooper. The depictions of battle were heart stopping and the last 30 minutes of this movie are possibly the best I've ever seen.

3. A Few Good Men
An all-star cast makes this a spectacular drama. I'm not a big Tom Cruise fan, but this is one of the few movies of his that I really like. I could watch this movie every day and never get tired of it. The court sequence between Cruise and Jack Nicholson is the stuff of legends. I don't care who you are or what movies you like or don't, this one has to rank up there with the best of them.

4. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Unlike Pirates, this is a real trilogy, though I don't think of it that way. I think of it as more of an epic. To me it's like one giant movie. Peter Jackson's brilliant portrayal of J.R.R. Tolkien's novel is breathtaking. Non-stop action and heart stopping moments abound and the actors involved in this epic all brought their best stuff. This has to go down as one of the best movies in history and cements Jackson's place as one of the best and most sought after directors in Hollywood.

5. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
Kevin Costner's portrayal of Sir Robin Hood is the best I've seen in modern cinema. That and the fact that Alan Rickman could quite possibly be the best villain in any movie ever made. Well, he and Jack Palance. Great cast and a fun movie that puts a bit of a different twist on the classic English folk tale we all have grown to love.

6. National Lampoons Christmas Vacation
One of many "National Lampoon" movies but this one outshines the rest (no pun intended) by a long shot. One of Chevy Chases best movies, I could watch this year round. No matter how many times I've seen it and no matter how well I can quote pretty much every scene I still laugh my rear off every time I watch it. And up to this point, that is 4,382 times. Not really, but you get the picture.

7. The Journey of Natty Gann
I grew up watching this Disney classic. Not one of the more popular ones, but a story I could connect with as a young child. A young girls father goes cross country to find work during the depression and leaves young Natty behind, but not for long as she treks across the country to find her father with the help of a very young John Cusack and a dog named wolf. This is one of those movies that take me back to my childhood every time I watch. If you haven't seen it, watch it. If not, let me know-it's a hard find but I have it.

8. The Ghost and Mr. Chicken
I am a huge fan of the late Don Knotts. Personally I think he is the funniest man that ever lived, but that's just my opinion. This movie of a bumbling reporter spending the night in a haunted house is enough to double you over with laughter. For an old movie it's got some pretty catchy music too! Knotts has made some great films, but this will always be one of my favorites.

9. Young Guns
A fabulous retelling of William H. Bonney, AKA Billy the Kid. A great cast of actors including Keifer Sutherland, Jack Palance, Charlie Sheen, Terry O'Quinn, and Emelio Estevez as Billy, put on an entertaining show in one of my favorite shoot-em-up movies. I'm not a big western movie person, but this makes my short list.

10. Tombstone
The story of Wyatt Earp has been told, retold, and told again. This movie stands (in my opinion) as the best retelling of the story ever made and stands as one of my favorite movies ever. A near flawless performance by Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday and a convincing performance from Kurt Russell make this movie one everyone should see at least once. The rest of the cast is a who's who as well with Bill Paxon, Sam Elliott, Terry O'Quinn and brief appearance by Billy Bob Thornton.

11. Die Hard
The first "big break" for Bruce Willis (aka John McClane). This movie saved Willis from a career as a soap star and vaulted him into one of the most beloved action hero's of the 90's. This movie was a hit and has since produced 3 sequels all pitting our "wrong place, wrong time" hero against an assortment of bad guys and forever ingraining that one phrase into our know the one. All this on top of the fact that once again, Alan Rickman proved he was the best villain on the market!

12. Live Free or Die Hard
The 4th installment of the Die Hard series pits a reluctant McClane against a different type of terrorist. One he can't see. As the bad guys try to infiltrate our National Security, McClane again comes to the rescue along with computer geek Justin Long. This movie has some of the best car explosions ever and when McClane takes on an F-35 jet with a tractor trailer, you know you are in guy movie heaven. I vote McClane for president in 2008!!

13. Indiana Jones Trilogy

Perhaps the most loved and best action hero of my time. Harrison Ford was terrific as Dr. Jones, a college professor who just couldn’t keep away from adventure after adventure. All 3 of these movies are action packed and keep you on the edge of your seat! Sean Connery was great as Jones’ father and the supporting cast was always terrific! When I was a kid, all I did when I was at a store was look for brown fedora hats so I could look like Indy. Hec, I still want a hat and a whip!

14. Escape from NY

Don’t ask me why, but this has always been a favorite of mine as I have always enjoyed Kurt Russell flicks. A dark film by John Carpenter shows NY as a future prison for outcasts, thieves and murderers. It takes one Snake Plisken (Russell) to dive in headfirst and rescue the President of the United States. This one won’t be on many peoples list, but it will however always make mine.

15. Star Wars Trilogy

When I say Star Wars Trilogy, I mean the original 3. Star Wars; Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. I am not a big fan of the new prequels. I was perfectly happy with things the way they were before Episode 1-3. A lot of people may disagree with me on this, but to me, Star Wars was a classic and didn’t need to be messed with. Was it neat to see the new ones? Did I like them at all? Wasn’t it neat to see how things began? Yes, Yes and Yes, but it’s the originals that make my list.

16. Planet of the Apes

Not the new Mark Whalburg version, but the old one. Charlton Hestons version. One of the best movies of all time in my book. The scene with the Statue of Liberty is one of the most unforgettable movie scenes ever. The sequels were good too, but this one is the one I put right up there with the best!

17. Spider Man 1 & 2

Growing up, all I did was ready Spidey comic books. I lived and breathed Spiderman and thought it was cool that I had the same last name as Peter (although now, that’s more of a curse…more on that later I’m sure). How could I not be stoked about these movies??!! Great story lines (though not completely accurate), great villains, and great effects made this movie major exciting. While I wasn’t and am still not thrilled at the choice of actors, it still overcomes that objective to make the list. The third movie was kind of a let down and got really cheesy.

18. Top Gun

I’m a guy. You knew this movie would be on here. Quite frankly, one of the best films to come out of the 80’s! Again, not a big Cruise fan, but this one kicks major…um….rear. Great cast of actors and nonstop high flying action make this a must see. And who hasn’t quoted “That’s a negative ghost rider, the pattern is full”?

19. Saving Private Ryan

This is the only Tom Hanks movie you will see on my list. I can’t stand Tom Hanks, but this movie is absolutely fabulous. I couldn’t take my eyes off for one minute. The detail put into this movie is unrivaled and really brings a new level of respect to those who died that morning on the beaches of Normandy. I must see for anyone alive. At least that’s what I think.

20. The Princess Bride

A Classic comedy that requires your utmost attention if you’ve never seen it. Quite possibly the only time you will ever catch me watching anything with Fred Savage. The wit and humor of this movie is unrivaled. I quote this movie daily. If you have not seen this movie, be careful or you might get eaten by an r.o.u.s. What is that you say? Sounds like another good reason for you to watch the movie!

21. American Graffiti

A classic movie with Ronny Howard playing the lead part. Takes you back to the days when drive ins were hoppin’ and drag racing classic cars were hip! Note a very young Harrison Ford making one of his first movie appearances.

22. To Kill a Mockingbird

Based on the novel by Harper Lee, this movie is an American classic! Gregory Peck’s portrayal of Adicus Finch was spot on and if you watch closely, you’ll see a very, very young Robert DiNiro making an appearance as Boo Radley.

23. Shawshank Redemption

I’m not a fan at all of Tim Robbins, but this movie is a “must have, must see” movie for anyone, hands down. The story of a banker who escapes from prison after being wrongly accused of murder is top notch. Add in a great supporting role by Morgan Freeman and you have a movie that is unbeatable. An emotional drama that will suck you in from start to finish and leave you wanting to watch it again. And again.

24. Field of Dreams

My 2nd favorite Kevin Costner flick about a middle aged man who loves baseball so much, he builds a field in his corn field. Not only that, but many legends of baseball past – including Shoeless Joe Jackson show up to play literally in his back yard! Great supporting cast including James Earl Jones and Burt Lancaster.

25. Dumb and Dumber

Sorry, but I’m pretty sure this makes at least every guys list. One of the funniest movies ever made and another huge breakout movie for Jim Carrey. It doesn’t make any difference how many times I watch this movie , I still laugh my rear off ever time and not a viewing goes by that I don’t catch something I didn’t catch before. I must have for everyone!

Did you miss me?

So I've been AWOL for a few apologies! I've had some computer issues, but not to worry, I'm back and everything is a-ok!

So here is a second, I'll be posting a new feature in my blog, called "My Favorites." It'll just be a list of my favorite movies, tv shows, music, food, places, so on and so forth. I'll put a new one up from time to time so keep on the lookout for it! And as always, feel free to comment...I'd love to hear your thoughts and opinions!

Hope to hear from you soon!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Obliviot sighting

"Obliviots": People who are oblivious to the world around them and the people living in that world.

I had to make a stop at the store today to pick up a few things. No biggie. I gathered up my things and took them to the check out counter where I found myself in line, behind a guy with a mason jar. Full of pennies. The cashier rang up his items, and advised him that he owed eight dollars and some odd cents. Well, much to my dismay (along with the others who had gathered in the line behind me) the man dumped his jar of pennies on the counter, looked up and smiled at the cashier and backed up. The cashier, seeing this unfold along with a growing line of people waiting to be checked out, looked distraught. She asked the man how much was there and he replied right away that he didn't know. Five minutes or so later, the ever patient but frustrated cashier had counted out the eight dollars and some odd cents and then advised the man that she didn't need the extra pennies laying on the counter. The man looked at her and replied that she could just go ahead and put them back into the jar and he handed it to her. Finally having enough, the cashier pushed the jar and the pennies to the side and advised the man that he could do it himself because she had to take care of the 9 or so people that were in line by then, to which the man shrugged and moved over to the side, placed the remaining pennies in the jar, took his things and left whistling a tune.

It's obliviots like this that cause normal people to go out of their mind. I get so sick of going here or there and running into people who have no regard for others and really act like they don't even know other people exist. If all you have is a jar of pennies, then fine, but before you go into a store, have them rolled, or at least have the right amount or somewhere remotely close to the right amount before you go holding up a line of customers who are waiting patiently. Furthermore, if that's all you have, don't dump them on the counter and make the cashier count them. That's not her/his job. Have some respect for other people and don't be so dad gum selfish. It's infuriating. On top of this, how dare you even have the nerve to tell the cashier to put the pennies she didn't need back in the jar. You made the mess, you clean it up punk. This is a perfect example of a selfish obliviot who needs someone to teach him a good lesson.

For those of you reading, don't be an obliviot. Try to be considerate of others around you on a daily basis. In other words, if you have a buggy full of groceries, don't go through the express lane checkout because it has a shorter line. Try your best (and it's not hard) to park inside the lines. That parking space is plenty big enough for your car or truck and when you park over the line, you are making it harder for everyone else. All these things really take is paying attention, so be careful when you go out in public. I am of the belief that going out in public is not for everyone. If you can't act like an adult, and be considerate of others, stay home.

That's all I have to say.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

All the top

On a night when Chris Lofton played only 27 minutes, and hit only 2 field goals, neither of them treys; On a night JaJuan Smith played only 27 minutes and scored only 9 points; On a night when Tennessee had more turnovers than their opponent; On a night when Tennessee was playing in the most hostile environment it may have ever seen; On a night when the pressure was undoubtedly greater than it's ever been; On a night when Memphis was shooting for 48 straight home wins; On a night when Memphis was shooting for 27 wins in a row; On a night when Tennessee hit only 6 three pointers, and Memphis hit eight in the first half; On a night when everyone was talking about the elusive undefeated season in store for Memphis; On a night when Memphis had 5 more steals than Tennessee; On a night when Memphis blocked 9 shots and Tennessee blocked only 3; On a night when Tennessee turned the ball over more than it's opponent; On a night when the world was watching; On a night at Fed Ex Forum; On a late-February night against the number ranked and undefeated Memphis Tigers on their own home court; On a night when most people thought it was all too much for Tennessee to overcome; Tennessee Overcame. Tennessee showed the whole country that they could beat anybody. Tennessee showed they could do it even if Chris had a bad shooting night; Tennessee showed resolve. Tennessee hit crucial free throws down the stretch. Tennessee showed grit; Tennessee showed heart; Tennessee showed pride; Tennessee showed determination. Tennessee stood tall; The Vols painted a solid blue city orange. The Vols painted the whole state orange. Tennessee had done what no other team could do on Memphis' home court since 2006; Tennessee did what no other team has been able to do this season; Tennessee showed that the city of Memphis, is still in the state of Tennessee. Tennessee won.
When I woke up yesterday morning, Tennessee was the 2nd best team in the country. When I went to bed last night, Tennessee was the number 1 ranked team in the country.
On a beautiful Tennessee night in late February, there were no Blue Devils. There were no Tar Heels. There were no Jayhawks. There were no Bruins.
There were only Volunteers. Clad in orange, they were all alone. For the first time. At the top.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The best "greatest blunder" ever

Think back. It's 2005 and the big news in Knoxville is that the new athletic director at Tennessee has just fired the basketball coach at Tennessee. Four years after being hired, Buzz Peterson was let go in a wake of controversy.

A lot of fans were very vocal in voicing their disapproval of this move. Let me share with you some quotes from message boards on the Knoxville News Sentinels web site back in August of 2005:

"I think UT should have given Buzz at least one more year! It's not like the Vols lost games by large margins..."

"With the way Jerry Green was treated, and now Buzz, we will not be able to attract another good coach. He was bringing integrity first to our Bball team and given some time would have brought the winning record. Mike Hamilton will see him down the road and wish he had done things differently."

"Do the research, Mike Hamilton has NEVER COACHED ANYTHING according to his positions history on How does he know what it takes to hire and fire a coach?"

"Mr. Hamilton just made the biggest blunder of his career."

"Honestly, I don't know why UT keeps a men's program. It's like having a bird dog that can't point. Sooner or later you either get him fixed or your put him down. 6 coaches in 16 years was the getting him fixed's time to put him down."

...And that is just a few of the comments made, and that is just online. That doesn't even touch what people were saying on TV, radio and even in the Tennessee coaching fraternity. If you remember, Pat Summitt and even Peyton Manning came out saying they didn't support the decision and that they were behind Peterson all the way.

Just for the record, I was part of the "let him go" crowd, because he had done nothing to further Tennessee basketball. All he did was bring false hope as had many before him. When it came to wins and losses, Tennessee stayed the course of being mediocre.

It's amazing what a few years can do as far as perception goes huh? I wonder what all of those naysayers have to say now? I would love to hear what they think. For the first time in history, the Vols are ranked #2 in the nation, are a projected #1 seed in the tournament and riding the 4th longest home winning streak in the country. They have a multi-million dollar practice facility and by far the best on campus basketball arena in the country. They are selling out games, and leading the nation in attendance. These aren't opinions now folks, they are facts and it's all because of 2 people. 1. Mike Hamilton (who was said to be making the biggest blunder of the year by hiring a no-name from Wisconsin Milwaukee and getting rid of Buzz Peterson.) and #2: Bruce Pearl. Quite possible the best coach to grace the University of Tennessee campus since the General.

Pearl has proven to be the real deal and has silenced all of the naysayers from years past. He has turned false hope into real, honest to goodness basketball. He has shown that he is a man of character and charisma. Someone who cares about basketball and someone who saw a chance to do something big for a University that had never tasted basketball quite like this. This guy gives his all to this University and to the ball team, and he does it all the time, day in, day out. He has gained the respect of the whole campus, and the whole Vol Nation. In hind site, it looks like Mike Hamilton knew what he was doing after all.

Vol fans are now turning out in droves to see what no other coach could do at Tennessee. Win, and win big.

This Saturday, the vols will take on the #1 team in the land. Undefeated Memphis. But this time, they will be right there with them with the #2 ranking. Thats right. There is no Duke, or North Carolina between them. It's Tennessee and Memphis. 1 vs 2 in an in-state rivalry that has the biggest of implications.

Win or lose, I'll be happy. Disappointed, but happy. Not because we might lose, but because we were in a position to be playing the best team in the country in February and we were doing it as the 2nd best team in the country...and I'll take that any day over any team coached by Jerry Green, Kevin O'neill or Buzz Peterson.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

A note of thanks and gratitude

Like many folks on Sunday after church, my wife Olivia and I went out to eat with some friends. We had a very good meal at new Japanese Steakhouse close to our house and really enjoyed the food, fun and fellowship. After our meal, we kept waiting on our ticket, but it didn't come. An older couple who ate at the same table as us, got their tickets and paid and left, leaving us wondering why we had never received our ticket. Finally, one of our friends at the table asked the waiter about our ticket, and was told that someone else had picked up our tab and that we were free to go. We were a bit shocked. We really don't know who did this, but whoever did, thought enough of us to pick up not only my family's tab, but the other 2 couples we were with as well. There is a small chance that one of the couples we were with picked up the tab and just didn't want us to know, but either way, the deed was done. For this genuine act of kindness, I am very thankful, yet I don't know who to thank. I guess the whole point of us not knowing who it was was so that it would be anonymous, but it still feels nice to be able to thanks someone.

With that said, in a world that is seemingly more and more crowded with selfish people who care only for themselves and their own interests, it is comforting to know that there are still those out there who put others in front of themselves. Those who's kindness shines brighter than they know. I know that I am touched but this, and while it doesn't seem like a big deal, it's caused me to take a step back and ask myself, "What have I done for someone else today?" There are many people out there who might be having a bad week or a bad day, and you never know what affect one act of kindness no matter how big or small might have on their life. It doesn't have to be buying someone dinner, it can be something as simple as opening a door, or offering your help with something. Whatever it is, big or small, can really make a big difference.

So with all of the gratitude in my heart, I say "Thank you" to whomever it is that showed us an act of kindness that is so often missing from today's world. I promise, it didn't go unnoticed and it meant more than you understand. It's good to see there are still those out there who care for others. May God bring whoever you are, a special blessing this week and thanks again.


Hello, and welcome to my new Blog!

I'm glad to have you on board and reading what I have to say!
I'll be updating this pretty frequently, so make sure and check back daily for a dose of what I like to call "Phil's reality!"

This will be a fairly random blog. I will post pretty much whatever happens to be on my mind, be it faith, family, politics, movies, news or whatever. Keep in mind, I am very honest, and I have some very strong beliefs and convictions that I'm not afraid to share.

With that in mind, thanks for taking the time to come check me out!

God bless and have a great day!