Our family moved back to Knoxville a year ago now. I often joke that I need a side gig with the chamber of commerce, because I’m not sure anyone is happier to be here.
In that time, it’s been a delight to watch our church and our children grow. My son is getting ready to go to kindergarten; his sister just turned three. We took him to his first game at Neyland last fall, where Tennessee set the school record for total yardage. It won’t always be like this.
And in that same year, as you know and love, Tennessee returned to the national conversation in football, then finished off maybe their single greatest academic year in all sports. Everything is everything.
If you’ve followed along here or at Rocky Top Talk through the years, you’ve probably heard me talk about becoming a blogger around ten days after I became a pastor. It wasn’t anything I planned, I just moved away from Knoxville for the first time in my life, and more than anything, I missed talking about the Vols with my friends.
That was 17 years ago this month. And maybe it’s appropriate: that initial version of it, just me writing when there was time and interest with a small community of dedicated readers…that’s not too dissimilar from what this site is today.
So first, a word of thanks for all of those who’ve read the site(s) for any or all of these years.
And also a word to say: things are slowing down around here.
You probably knew that to some degree already; Joel and I have often said that “write what you want when you want” is what kept these blogs and their authors healthy all these years. I’ve been so grateful for the community at Gameday on Rocky Top these past six years after initially slowing down in leaving Rocky Top Talk.
And one of my favorite parts about the last year of success has been sharing some of those conversations – a few on this site, many more behind the scenes – with some of our old writing staff. We wrote at RTT for eight football seasons, nine in basketball. During those years, the football team won 52% of its games, the basketball team 58%.
And it was fun. I’m so grateful that it’s always been fun.
It still is, of course. In some ways more than ever; winning, it turns out, is great!
Living in Knoxville, I’m just also finding a version of the very thing I missed that sent me to the keyboard all these years ago. It’s such a gift to even begin to find it with my kids.
And maybe most of all, we are deeply enjoying and deeply grateful for the life and community we find through our church (if you’re on the north side of town, come say hey sometime!).
I don’t think this is the last thing that will ever be written on this site or anything like that, though this is probably the first time I’ve felt like that was a possibility. I still have no idea how to be a pastor and not do this.
But as I’m aware of the changing rhythms in our lives, I wanted to let you know, and make sure to take the opportunity to say thank you, so very much, for being here. Those who’ve read the site over all these years helped create a very real sense of community for us, and I hope for you. I cannot tell you how meaningful it’s been for me, and how important it was early on when I was far from home and the people I loved. You’ve helped me grow up as a person and a pastor. And I still get such a kick out of sharing this together.
I remain just a kid who grew up in Knoxville who loves the Vols. Thanks for the privilege of doing that together, through all the wins and losses.
Grace and Peace and Go Vols,