Sunday, January 21, 2007

Fair weather fans are anything but...

OK,this bugs me.

Here's the deal. Your team has hit a three game skid. Said team's best player has hurt his ankle and is out for no telling how long.Your team has the lead, but the score remains tight in the closing minutes.

What do you do? Rally around the home team? Scream loudly? Clap and stomp your feet?

If you're Tennessee basketball fans, you apparently stream to the exits.

Such a scenario played itself out at Thompson Boling Arena on Saturday night. The Vols were holding off SEC East rival South Carolina, but without the help of their best player, Chris Lofton, who went down clutching his ankle in the second period.

JuJuan Smith, Jordan Howell and others did their part. Smith scored a game-high 21 points. Howell played longer than expected in his first game after an extended injury. Too bad a big chunk of the 23,000 in attendance were more worried about beating the crowd.

Fans in our section started yelling at them. "Where are you going?" one of them said. "Don't bother coming back next time."

Tennessee talks a lot about pride. About Power T's and Big Orange Country and Rocky Top.

Exciting basketball is something new to Vol fans. The Wilderness Years lasted a generation. NCAA Tournament appearances are still a treat. To a lot of them, Ray Mears and Ernie and Bernie are just names in the media guide.

But come on. When the going gets tough, the tough don't run for the nearest exit.

Stay in your seats or just stay at home.

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