Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

August 23, 2012

ALL IN THE GAME: Things going well for Tennessee sports

By Jim Butler
Chronicle correspondent

CROSSVILLE — I'm not referring to UT sports necessarily, but sports in general throughout the state.

Wednesday night, I watched a bunch of youngsters from Goodlettsville stage a last inning comeback to advance to the U.S. championship game of the Little League World Series.

Last weekend, a young man from Hendersonville, Steven Fox, via UTC, won the U.S. Amateur golf championship, also with a big late comeback.

Hopefully my Commodores can keep things going in the coming week by downing the "old ball coach" and his ninth-ranked Gamecocks. Vanderbilt has played South Carolina well in recent years and an upset could be in the works on Thursday evening. Hopefully a win over Steve Spurrier's bunch can convince even the most negative of Vanderbilt critics that they are for real and can compete with the big boys in spite of the heavy academic requirements.

Tennessee shouldn't have much trouble as they take on the Wolfpack. At least Volunteer teams of old wouldn't be dreading this one. This one is very important for the Volunteers as they try to return to prominence in the SEC and take care of Coach Derek Dooley's job.

While I'm on the subject of coaches, I must mention that I received an email from an avid Tennessee fan with a not-so-glowing view of Vandy's coach James Franklin. You Volunteer followers must come to understand that not all talented people wear orange on a regular basis. In fact, the numbers are dwindling on a daily, if not hourly, basis. Anyway, it was good to hear from you, Hoss, as well as the others.

I hope that everyone enjoyed the Olympics as much as I did. There were so many feel-good stories for the American athletes in London and they even outweighed and outnumbered the negativity based things. I haven't talked with my friend Jason Napier, who has been present at the past several Olympic games. What a dream job that must be.

I was sorry to see that the Panthers lost at Livingston Academy and the Jets dropped a real heartbreaker to Bledsoe County. That's just the first game and there are better things to come for both. It was tough up here in the country, also, as Clay County dropped their initial contest to Silverdale Academy.

Lastly for today, I must offer my congratulations to Condoleeza Rice and Darla Moore on being the first two females to become members at Augusta National Golf Club. I know that pleases a lot of people, but others will be somewhat dismayed.

I have my den already set up for the first big black and gold outing and my 'V' flag is ready to fly. Hopefully I'll have enough to feed the folks who are coming to celebrate with me. All you folks get ready, too, as the big week approaches. We're all winners for just being able to participate.

Go Panthers! Go Jets! Go USA!

(Jim Butler is a Chronicle correspondent and his column appears regularly.)