Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

December 5, 2013

All in the Game: I'm going out a winner

By Jim Butler
Chronicle correspondent

CROSSVILLE — All good things must come to an end. At least, it has been a good thing for me, even when I had to endure losing. These last two years have surely been the best for we Vanderbilt fans have seen in our lifetime and I have decided that it is time for me to quit antagonizing Frank Gale and his orange-clad throng and just enjoy my football without wondering what I am going to write.

Frank, I have certainly enjoyed the good-nature banter over the last several years and, in a way, I even enjoyed singing "Rocky Top" on the courthouse steps. I'll never forget the grin on Judy Graham Swallows' face as she helped me sing. Please rest assured that I have not performed it since. I appreciate Pauline Sherrer and Mike Moser letting me voice my opinion on a weekly basis. Maybe we gained a follower or two. Anyway, I appreciate the readers, even the few that tend to disagree with me.

I love my sports, and I hope that I will continue to do so for several more years, but there are things going on in the sports world these days that should concern us all. Remember, it is just a ball game.

I read in the Nashville paper that the Vandy players were greeted after the game in Knoxville by fans throwing full bottles of water at them and then when, they reached the shower room there was not a drop of hot water to be had for showering. It seems that would have to be planned some time in advance for the water to be cooled. Worse than that was the fact that someone sent UT defensive back Cameron Sutton a message threatening his life for not defending better against Jordan Matthews.

Alabama's place kicker also received threats against him and his family after the Auburn loss. Then there was the killing of an Alabama fan by another, allegedly because the victim wasn't hurt enough by the Tide's loss to Auburn. I know that this has to be a very small minority acting this irresponsibly, but it is a sad commentary on sports.

My good friend and staunch Alabama fan Ronnie Pugh handled that big loss the way it is supposed to be done. He e-mailed me to congratulate me on the most recent Commodore victory and simply said that his bunch didn't get it done and that the best team won on Saturday. He knows that there will be other games and 'Bama will certainly win their share.

My barber, Beep-Beep Bilbrey, is also a Vandy fan and we were discussing the status of Commodore football in his shop the other day. Another patron made the remark that James Franklin seems cocky. To me that's not the proper descriptive adjective. I see it as confidence in his ability to get it done and he has gotten it done. I've heard the same said by my football friends in Cumberland County and I simply attribute the feeling to the fact that he has beaten Tennessee twice and took them to overtime in another outing. If you believe that he's somewhat arrogant then my suggestion would simply be to just put your team on the field and beat him. I'm sure that would take the smile off his face.

Well, I'm hoping for a bowl game out of state this year but if it doesn't happen then so be it. We will be playing somewhere!

I wish you all the best of holidays and a great future. Again thanks to everyone that perused my ramblings and I appreciate the comments, pro and con.

Smile and good things will happen.

Go Jets! Go Panthers! Go USA!

(Jim Butler is a Chronicle correspondent and this is his last column.)