I started going to University of Tennessee football games with my dad when I was about 5 years old. We’d leave the house about 3 hours before the game, park downtown, catch the Vol walk, and walk with the Pride of the Southland Marching Band as they marched and played Rocky Top down Volunteer Boulevard. Depending on the time, we’d get something to eat inside the University Center and shop for new UT gear in the bookstore. Every season. Every game. Even after I started college at UT, I much preferred going to the games with my dad than sitting in the student section.
Sometime during college, dad and I would go to the games and sit in the seats he’d gotten for that week, and then later in the game we’d find ourselves sitting with Britt’s family. At the time Britt and I were dating, and the season before we got married I remember him saying, “Next year, my dad will get us enough tickets so you and your dad can always sit with us.” Little did I know we’d be getting married less than a year later!
3 years later, dad and I still go to the games together. He picks me up about 3 hours before kick-off, we catch the Vol walk, and watch the band march down to the stadium. Britt and his dad usually meet us at the stadium closer to game time, and we all get to sit together just as Britt said we would. I love everything about these Saturdays from the scorching heat of the first game to the brisk wind of the last game. But when I began eating a GF diet, enjoying the food part of the games became a little more difficult.
My first few UT games as GF eater were a little tough. Not many sports fans are GF, so it’s slim pickings for food in the stadium. Depending on the time of the game, I’d bring GF snack bars or crackers, which I had to hide in a jacket pocket so they wouldn’t be confiscated (I live on the edge!). There were some things in the stadium I could eat, such as cracker jacks, popcorn, almost any candy, and nachos. None of those things are very filling and certainly not my first choice for a meal! At the beginning of the 2012 season, I discovered that Petro’s Chili is GF, AND there happened to a Petro’s right near our seats! It may not sound like much, but this was incredible news to me! Now I don’t have to worry about bringing snacks or how I’m going to sneak them in, and I don’t have to worry about what I might be able to find to eat after the game. It’s SO nice to know exactly what I can eat in the stadium and not worry about being sick later. Thank you, Petro’s!
And thank you, dad, for taking me to UT games for almost 20 years!
Just a little glimpse into a typical game day for us…
Vol Walk (I’m a little short and it was a little crowded…please excuse the terrible photography)
Here comes the band!
My dad calls my brother every game so he can hear Rocky Top from 9 hours away. If anyone’s a #volfan4life, it’s my dad.
Pre-game festivities on the field!
It’s football time in Tennessee!!