Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Letter To Mr. Hamilton

(This is the text of the letter I mailed to UT Athletic Director Mike Hamilton yesterday)

Dear Mr. Hamilton,

For the record, I'm not what you would call a Vol fanatic in that I don't paint my room orange, don't have an orange car (although the General Lee would be awesome), don't wear orange boxers, etc... I’m also not one who calls for the coaches’ heads after each loss either. Having played briefly in high school and still having retained a love for the game, I know how difficult it can be. Of course, I would love to coach, but that is another story for another day.

This being said, there was something about the game against the Gators this weekend that really rubbed me the wrong way. It wasn’t merely a case of who ran better plays or who had better players. Blocking is blocking, cheerleading is cheerleading, and tackling is tackling. But there was no enthusiasm from the players. There was no unity. It felt like another man was trying to mess with your wife and you just stood there or another woman was messing around with your boyfriend and you just ignored it. The reason Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison do so well is their unity and their trust in each other. They care about each other. They probably have cookouts at each other’s homes.

Ultimately, football like other areas in life is one of passion. If one doesn’t enjoy his or her work, it doesn’t matter how much fame or money someone has. I’m a good judge of body language and facial expressions and often focus on those when interacting with people more than necessarily what they are saying. I can tell they were uptight. This was the problem for years when we played Alabama. While sometimes, coaches like presidents are unfairly blamed for all the world’s ills, when it comes to their immediate realm; they are the ones who set the tone. The head coach should be able to replace players when someone else isn’t getting the job done. They set the tempo and the tone of the team. Players can either get with the program or sit on the sideline. But where is the tempo? What does this team want to accomplish? I sometimes wonder if it has come to the point where coach Fulmer is putting his health in jeopardy. Even when things are going well, coaches have a tendency to not sleep much, eat well or what have you. Personally, while I love football, it is not so important that it warrants a heart attack or some other life-threatening illness.

I don’t know what the future holds. But if Fulmer and the other coaches in addition to certain players are just going through the motions and just collecting a paycheck for the sake of it, then it isn’t worth it. If Fulmer does decide to step down, I don’t want it to be because he was forced out like what happened to Johnny Majors. I still to this day think how the UT administration at the time handled that particular affair to be disrespectful. Ultimately, it is best that Fulmer decide it on his own terms and perhaps be content with what he has accomplished including a National Championship. But, while a part of me appreciates that perhaps he wants to stay because he is a competitor, if he is just staying to collect a paycheck, then he would be wasting his time and everyone else’s too. I just hope everything works out for the best, but difficult decisions are going to have to be made before too long.

I wish you the best in your future endeavors.

Sincerely,

Chris Fortner

2 comments:

Amelia said...

Nicely said

Byron Chesney said...

"But if Fulmer and the other coaches in addition to certain players are just going through the motions and just collecting a paycheck for the sake of it, then it isn’t worth it."

And that's a might LARGE paycheck where Fulmer is concerned.