Every school has traditions that its fans begin learning at birth. Sometimes, the reasons those traditions came about are obvious. A lot of fans wonder about the University of Tennessee‘s two distinct characteristics: the “Volunteer” nickname and the color orange.
The Volunteer nickname dates back 200 years to the War of 1812,when Tennesseans volunteered in great numbers to fight against Great Britain at the Battle of New Orleans. Years later, 2,800 men were called to battle in the Mexican-American War, but more than 30,000 from Tennessee went to fight, and Tennessee became known as the Volunteer State. In 1902, the Volunteer nickname was first attributed to the university in the Atlanta Constitution and has stuck ever since. The state of Tennessee and the university take great pride in the history of its nickname.
The most visible Tennessee tradition seen on game day is our color orange. It is everywhere — on the uniforms, on the fans and all over campus. The color scheme originated back in 1891, when Charles Moore, a member of the original football team, came up with it because of the orange and white daisies that lined “the Hill,” the most notable spot on campus. Recent studies have shown that Moore might have actually been colorblind, and the flowers, after all, might have been yellow and white.
Many opposing team’s fans cannot stand the sight of the Tennessee uniforms or the outfits that our fans sport. While in Athens for the Georgia game, current Georgia student Art Sanguansri commented that UT orange is, “All up in your face, tacky and blinding.”
Another current Georgia student Tyler Andrews expressed his dislike for Tennessee’s orange with some interesting analogies. “I think Tennessee orange is disgusting, not because I hate Tennessee,” Andrews said, “but for the simple fact that it is not real orange.” The color is not Clemson orange or Texas orange, but Tennessee orange, and it is instantly recognizable. It even has its own Pantone color. “It is that throw-up looking orange that shouldn’t be considered real orange,” Andrews said. “Like one of those fake Gucci purses they sell on the New York streets — not real, but people think it can do the job. I do not like it.”
When comparing Georgia’s colors and Tennessee’s colors, UT student Sean Franklin asserts that Tennessee has unique colors while other schools like Georgia don’t. When people see Tennessee orange, they immediately know what school it is.
“I like the Tennessee orange, because I feel like Tennessee’s orange is so unique,” said Franklin. ” There’s not a shade of orange like it around the nation.”
“I just went to the UGA-Tennessee game a couple days ago, and they are wearing their red and black. They are wearing it proudly just like any school would,” Franklin said. “The truth is, that shade of red and that shade of black are worn by other teams. No other team in the entire nation has that particular shade of orange.”
There are other Vol fans who like the color orange simply because others don’t like it. They enjoy getting decked out in an orange that is so obnoxious, it annoys opposing fans. It could be an RV painted orange, orange body paint or an entire outfit in the bright Tennessee orange, but whether you like it or hate it, Tennessee fans wear their orange proudly.
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