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There are still so many emotions. They are still raw and it will take a lot of time to put the pieces back together. I don’t know how to process it. It’s as if I’m going through a breakup that I didn’t see coming. Thursday’s Sweet 16 loss was absolutely heartbreaking! After last year’s tournament loss I was mad, but this year’s loss, I’m just hurt. And I hurt more for this team.
I had to take a mental break from college basketball. I can’t watch the other games. My bracket is in the trash and I don’t know when the sadness will start to hurt less. The truth is, I knew this day would come. I know college teams are short lived and that players graduate to the real world. I know as a Tennessee fan that great teams are rare and winning it all is even more rare. But this team, THIS team was just so special on and off the court. I was not prepared that Thursday night would be the last time I would witness this team together for the last time.
How could the season end the way it did? How could being up 82-80 with 1.7 seconds left feel like my heart was being stabbed over and over and over and over again? How did Purdue get the out of bounds possession? How did the officials not call a five seconds violation when it took Purdue seven seconds to in-bound the ball? How can the Purdue shooter step out of bounds before taking a shot? How in the bleeeeeep can Purdue’s shooter kick his leg forward to draw a foul on UT? Typical Big10 with a bitch move. You know who kicks their legs when they shoot a basketball, the girls in C-league at middle school gym class. You are either a little bitch or you are not a basketball player. Purdue’s Carsen Edwards can clearly play basketball, him kicking UT’s Lamonte Turner was a total bitch move! No one blamed Turner; we applauded him for playing his butt off all night.
I finally left my house on Friday at 5:00pm for a nail appointment. When I walked in she said “why you look so sad?” Allergies was my only response. How could I explain that my heart was broken for a team that I didn’t even play on? How could I begin to explain the bond and impact this team has had on the fans was a movement that became so personal I could not control my emotions? I wasn’t just sad because of the loss, I was heartbroken this team’s season was over.
Peanut butter & jelly; Grant Williams & Admiral Schofield are just so good together. For dinner Friday night, I ate a peanut butter sandwich without jelly. It was my way of trying to prepare for life without Admiral Schofield. For those that know me, they know that my kitchen used more for storage than cooking. As I was eating my peanut butter sandwich there was a knock on my door. It was the Papa John’s delivery man trying to hand me a pizza. He gave me a weird look (maybe it was the sad eyes) and says apt 916? I took a deep breath and said no, that’s down the hall. God sure has a funny sense of humor. It’s right there in your face and then it’s gone, just like the most fun season of Tennessee men’s basketball.
After the loss, junior point guard Jordan Bone said “there’s not going to be another team like this, the way that we support each other. The way we express our love toward each other. The way we love the Lord together, man. It’s something you can’t break. I’ve never been part of a team this close.”
Senior Admiral Schofield said “God has definitely blessed me, I can’t be sad, I just gotta be appreciative. I always dreamed of being here, and God gave me everything I asked for and more.”
What hurts the most is knowing that team was the best team to ever wear the orange and while and they will never have the banners in Thompson-Boling Arena to show just how talented they were. The Vols were ranked #1 for four weeks and never fell out of the top 8. They tied a program record with 31 wins. This season fell short of a regular season banner, an SEC banner and a final four/National Championship appearance.
But this team is actually bigger than any banner. This team built a legacy that restored a fan base and a program that will forever change the culture and the future of athletics at the University of Tennessee. One fly, we all fly wasn’t just a game day tradition, but a standard.
Senior Kyle Alexander, said “the people in here that’ll be returning next year, their goal should be to come in and finish what we started.”
To the seniors, Admiral, Kyle, Brad and Luke. Thank you! Thank you for giving your all to the University of Tennessee. We will never forget THIS team!