Hey, how about that game, huh?

I had thought the first thing you do when defeated is lower your colors, but these were still flying Sunday morning.

Yep, it’s true. I actually watched the Gamecocks beat up on the Volunteers Saturday night. Or at least, the second half.

We were in Gatlinburg staying with my brother-in-law and his wife at the resort development where they stay. A good time was had by all, although we’re glad to be back after some of my experiences driving in the mountains. More about that later.

We were coming back to the cabin Saturday night after walking up and down the main drag in town — actually, given the terrain, I have the impression it’s pretty much Gatlinburg’s only drag — and passing by the car you see above, which my brother-in-law and I had first seen in front of a neighboring cabin when we had hiked to the top of the mountain that morning. (Or nearly to the top. We stopped just yards from the actual top, where the management of the resort didn’t want people to go. So we didn’t plant a flag or anything, and gladly accepted a ride back down to the valley in a golf cart with one of the resort’s employees.)

As we passed by the car with the UT flags, I remarked with surprise that the owner wasn’t in Knoxville at the game, since he or she had driven all the way from Florida. This illustrates the level of attention I usually play to football, since the game was in Columbia. (Which leaves me still puzzled as to why the flags were on the car, but as you know, I will probably never understand the nuances of football fanaticism.)

My brother-in-law suggested it was probably halftime, so we could still catch the second half on the huge TV in cabin. That sounded way better than doing any more driving through the mountains at night (again, more about that later), although I had to say “Don’t you think it’s pretty much over by now?” I understood that it was still halftime, but I meant “over” in a won-lost sense, and in favor of the Big Orange.

But I was assured that anything can happen, and boy can it. When we got back and learned what the score was at halftime, we were all shocked, but pleasantly so. So I got a beer and settled down to watching the event happening back in relatively warm Columbia. I’ll confess I was a bit surprised to see the home folks dressed as though for a blizzard. The cheerleaders were in sweatsuits! Nice sweatsuits, but still… I didn’t know cheerleaders did that. I was glad the young ladies were warm, but mildly scandalized, I admit, at what I had assumed to be the immemorial custom of the game. At that moment, it was 50 degrees in Columbia, and 35 where we were — and getting rapidly colder.

But never mind the weather…

As surprising as the halftime score was, that was nothing to what we saw in the second half. I had braced myself to see the Vols make up their deficit as I watched, thereby re-establishing basic physical laws of the universe. And the way the Vols marched to one easy touchdown in the third quarter looked to be the beginning of that. But the opposite happened. And happened. And kept happening. The Cocks’ next TD made scoring look even easier. As did the three that followed. I found myself wondering, Who were those impostors in Gamecock uniforms? But no, these were the actual guys, showing what they could really do.

Watching the impossible happen, relentlessly, was a very pleasant way to spend the rest of a cold evening in the mountains.

How was it for y’all?

Near the top of our cold-but sweaty climb, Cooper was still full of cheerful energy. But we caught a ride back down.

11 thoughts on “Hey, how about that game, huh?

  1. Cooper phelan

    This was a good synopsis of our climb up and a wonderful recap of the football game… What a great time we all had!!!!

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Well, it WAS that. But we were moving around most of the time, so it wasn’t bad. And it was really sunny.

        Pigeon Forge, of course, is the nearby FLAT land. I went there for the first time on this trip. I had remembered from a previous trip to Gatlinburg that it seemed kind of like it was trying to be Myrtle Beach, but there wasn’t enough room. There was just that one street that was crammed with MB-style stuff — very tightly crammed — but you can take it all in in a single walk.

        Over the weekend, I learned that Pigeon Forge is where you find the REST of the Grand Strand stuff. Miles of it. Amusement parks, like Dolly Parton’s and Jimmy Buffet’s. Then everything else you can think of — even beach souvenir shops. I am not making this up. Here’s one with a shark in front…

        1. Barry

          No doubt. I’ve been there many, many times.

          When my children were little, we would rent a cabin outside of Pigeon Forge- in the actual mountains (10 miles or so off the main drag)- and would hang out in Pigeon Forge doing various things.

          Of course, we ate at The Apple Barn a few times- always a fun treat. https://applebarncidermill.com/

          About 3 years ago we went up and did Dollywood between Christmas and New Years. Very crowded but fun.

          My family took in the Pirate Show and dinner this time. They enjoyed it.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Yeah, over the weekend I learned something I had never previously expected — Dolly owns the pirate thing on the Grand Strand.

            I hope the Guinness people know that, so they can honor Dolly for setting the record for number of billboards about one thing, along Highway 501.

            I used to be impressed by South of the Border, but that was nothing compared to this…

            1. Barry

              She owns a lot of stuff.

              Yes, she’s owned the one in Myrtle for a few decades. We attended several shows there when it was the Dixie Stampede. I thought it was really good.

            2. Brad Warthen Post author

              A question that often occurs to me about those billboards: Why doesn’t Pirates Voyage get in legal trouble with Johnny Depp over using his image?

              There are all sorts of images you could use to say “Pirate.” Why use his? Yes, I know he’s what kids today think of when you say the word, but how do they get away with that? Is he getting royalties, or what?

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                Old guys like me picture this. Or maybe this.

                Of course, I don’t romanticize pirates. I think of them as rather nasty critters. It’s one thing to be a privateer, operating against ships of enemy nations with a letter of marque from one’s own government. Pirates are a very low form of criminal, which is why, when the Royal Navy caught them, they would hang…


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