It's simply human nature to pick a side and fight vehemently vs. the opposition. Just look at our culture in 2012 where you have Obama vs. Romney, Chick-fil-A supporters vs. the LGBT community, vaccine advocates vs. the anti-vaccine movement, and the list goes on and on. Each side of the coin, regardless of the issue, considers itself to be the "good guys", and in America, we always (either consciously or sub-consciously) want the "good guys" to win. For example, that's why we secretly love Hulkamania over Hollywood Hogan. Also, we prefer the sappy, good endings to movies over the alternate endings that leave the main characters in tragic circumstances as the curtain draws.
Darren Aronofsky's movie Requiem for a Dream (2000) is one of the more disturbing movies I have ever watched. The movie is much more effective as a deterrent to abusing drugs than watching an egg fry a la the This is your brain on drugs campaign from the 80's (Any questions?). To sum it up briefly, with Coney Island as the backdrop, there are four main characters that have hopes, aspirations and dreams completely derailed by the abuse of drugs such as cocaine, heroin and speed pills. As you watch their lives spiral out of control, you are hoping that the individuals will overcome the odds to defeat their demons and go on with their lives intact. But just like the greatest pure passer of all-time Dan Marino not winning a Super Bowl, the storybook ending is not to be. You feel deflated, saddened and almost a little bit dirty at the conclusion of Requiem for a Dream. (** Sidenote: Requiem for a Dream is the only movie starring Jennifer Connelly that causes the average, red-blooded American male to concentrate more on the tragedy of her character vs. the hotness of her character. For the latter, see Career Opportunities, one of my faves that is universally unseen.)
In the minds of University of Tennessee Volunteer fans, the good guys wear Big Orange & White. There is no need to rehash as we all have the bad memories seared into our memory banks, but the last few years on The Hill have been a series of Requiem for a Dreamesque moments. From the ouster of a legend in Coach Fulmer to the debacle of the brief Lane Kiffin era to the growing pains of trying to rebuild with Coach Dooley, it's been a bad dream. To top off this bad dream, the last taste of gridiron action that the Volunteer faithful have in their mouths is a steak ending loss to Kentucky who vanquished the Vols with a wide receiver at QB.
Luckily, there is both hope and confidence going into 2012 amongst the coaches, players, media and fans concerning the Vols prospects for this season. The schedule, while always tough in the SEC, is favorable for the Vols to win at least eight contests with more wins possible if UT plays to its full potential. The Vols have a Quarterback in Tyler Bray that has a Browning Hi-Power hanging from the right side of his body, a WR crew that may be the best in the nation, a veteran & hungry offensive line and a tailback that pushed around the weight pile with those big nasties all summer long. Defensively, the Vols now have a SEC proven coach at DC and starting linebackers that finally measure up as potentially dominant in the SEC. The team has more depth and stability going into year three of the Dooley era. There is plenty to be excited about off the field as well such as the new 145,000 square foot Football Training Center.
Even with all of the positive vibes going into the 2012 season, the Vols are an early loss or two away from the dreams of grandeur being dashed and replaced with a heaping dose of the bad dreams experienced over the past few years. A loss in the Georgia Dome to NC State to open the season would be devastating, and it's very possible. We all know the Georgia Dome hasn't always been the kindest place to Tennessee over the years, and NC State is being talked about as an ACC title contender. If the Vols go down to Atlanta and get boat raced to open the season, will the team fracture as it did last season? Or will they galvanize together like the 2011 Georgia Bulldogs that finished with a vengenance (vs. a soft schedule) after starting the season 0-2? Hopefully, the Vols won't have to answer that question. If the Vols take out NC State to open the year, it would be a springboard to bigger and better things in my opinion including a very good shot to thwart the hated Florida Gators.
There is probably a segment of UT fans that want the 2012 Vols to stumble so Dooley will be ousted (much like Rush Limbaugh wanted President Obama to fail in order to be ousted in 2012, but that is a topic for a different forum). In regards to Dooley, I agree with Tucker Anderson's thoughts completely. UT fans should want Dooley to succeed this season. Otherwise, we're looking at the prospects of a decade long Requiem for a Dream nightmare to play on a recurring loop. Can you imagine a fourth coach in six years for this proud program that prides itself historically on consistency in winning, coaching stability and the Game Maxims? There is so much to be hopeful about in Knoxville this season. Here's hoping the bad dreams of the past few years take a turn for the better with the good guys finally coming out on top. GBO!