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Mechelle Voepel: Tennessee fans, get a grip

However, I’d like to take the opportunity to say to any Tennessee fans who are freaking out: Chill. Welcome to your very brief sojourn into how the other 95 percent (or more) lives. Buy Debby Jennings’ terrific “Vault of Basketball” book to get you through this trying time. You’ll notice it has EIGHT national championship trophies on the cover.

Not all of Orange Nation is loosing its grip, of course. Some fans are being very reasonable, even good-humored. They saw a lot of this coming in the Season of the Rocky Top Rookies, although perhaps not the additional blows of losing Cait McMahan and Vicki Baugh to injury.

Others, though, have lost perspective or never really had any – because Tennessee has been so freaking good for so long, fans didn’t have to develop it. Vol expert writer Maria Cornelius jokingly said when I was in Knoxville last month that she stays fairly busy just trying to (figuratively) talk fans down from ledges.

The reality? Tennessee is a team of teeny-boppers, including 19-year-old sophomore Angie Bjorklund, whose game-face expression is starting to resemble that of somebody who just woke up and is gradually realizing she’s in one of those “Saw” movies.

(Go to her blog at

I appreciate this entry. I am one of those optimistic fans, but last night’s loss did surprise me, and it bothered me. After reading all the “world is ending” posts on the Summitt message board, I didn’t have anything to say about the game.

But Voepel is right: there will be a tomorrow. And her humor is appreciated.

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