Dixieland Delight: A Football Season on the Road in the Southeastern Conference

( 10 )

Overview

There is no college ball more passionate and competitive than football in the Southeastern Conference, where seven of the twelve schools boast stadiums bigger than any in the NFL and 6.5 million fans hit the road every year to hoot and holler their teams to victory.

In September 2006, popular sports columnist and lifelong University of Tennessee fan Clay Travis set out on his "Dixieland Delight Tour." Without a single map, hotel reservation, or game ticket, he began an ...

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Dixieland Delight: A Football Season on the Road in the Southeastern Conference

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Overview

There is no college ball more passionate and competitive than football in the Southeastern Conference, where seven of the twelve schools boast stadiums bigger than any in the NFL and 6.5 million fans hit the road every year to hoot and holler their teams to victory.

In September 2006, popular sports columnist and lifelong University of Tennessee fan Clay Travis set out on his "Dixieland Delight Tour." Without a single map, hotel reservation, or game ticket, he began an 8,000-mile journey through the beating heart of the Southland. As Travis toured the SEC, he immersed himself in the bizarre game-day rituals of the common fan, brazenly dancing with the chancellor's wife at a Vanderbilt frat party, hanging with University of Florida demigod quarterback Tim Tebow, and abandoning himself totally to the ribald intensity and religious fervor of SEC football. Dixieland Delight is Travis's hilarious, loving, irreverent, and endlessly entertaining chronicle of a season of ironic excess in a world that goes a little crazy on football Saturdays.

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Editorial Reviews

Warren St. John
“As indispensible to college football fans as ibuprofen on Sunday morning.”
Dan Wetzel
“[Dixieland Delight] promises to be so popular down South it might replace the Bible in select motel rooms. Pretty much anyone will love this thing, but if you have even a remote interest in the SEC, this essentially is your new handbook on life.”
Will Blythe
“A weaving, high-spirited road trip of a book....Reading it will make you happier than a dog with two peters!”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061431241
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/31/2007
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 296,809
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.86 (d)

Meet the Author

Author of Dixieland Delight: A Football Season on the Road in the Southeastern Conference, Clay Travis is a writer for FanHouse.com. A former columnist at CBSSports.com and editor at Deadspin.com, he has also written for Sports Illustrated and The Oxford American, and taught creative writing at Vanderbilt University. He cohosts the daily "Midday Madness" radio show in Nashville, Tennessee, where he lives with his wife and son.

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Read an Excerpt

Dixieland Delight
A Football Season on the Road in the Southeastern Conference

Chapter One

The Quest

On doctor's orders, my maternal grandfather, Richard Fox, was not allowed to watch University of Tennessee football games. That was because my grandfather, a former Tennessee player, watched the games with such ferocious intensity that his doctor was afraid he might have a heart attack. So, for most of my youth, at halftime of each Tennessee game, my grandfather would call my uncle and inquire as to the score. If UT was comfortably ahead, he would begin watching the taped game. If it was a close game, he would wait until the end of the game to find out the final score before watching. If UT lost, he would never watch the tape. At no time did I consider this to be abnormal.

My grandfather also blazed a trail for modern athletes by being one of the first University of Tennessee football players to leave school without a degree. In the early 1930s, he played for General Robert Neyland while living in a dorm beneath the football stadium. When I was older, and the two of us visited Knoxville, my grandfather pointed out where he had lived as a student under the looming steel supports. The windows of those rooms were filled with cardboard boxes, and it was unbelievable to me that my grandfather had ever been so young or that his grass-stained cleats had once hung outside the door. On that day, as I stood with my grandfather and gazed at the gridiron on which he had played, it seemed impossible that I could ever root for another football team. My bloodlines ran orange.

Only once in my life did my grandfather ever break his doctor'sorders and watch a live University of Tennessee game with me. It was in 1990, and I was eleven. It was the third Saturday in October. For University of Tennessee fans this meant one thing and one thing only: Alabama week. UT was heavily favored that year over a mediocre Alabama football team, and this was supposed to be the year that we would break Alabama's four-year winning streak over us.

On the day of the game, Grandpa bought me candy at a gas station outside Chattanooga whose sign had GO VOLS written alongside the gas prices. In so doing, he had chosen to drive past the gas station that had GO DAWGS written on its sign. "That man's from Georgia," my grandfather said with evident disgust. Georgia was, after all, at least ten miles away from where we stood. Consequently, my grandfather never bought gas from that station and that Georgia Bulldog fan. In the South, you learn at a very young age that small geographic differences can be the deciding factor between friend and foe.

On the way home, I begged Grandpa to watch the UT game that day, and he was unable to resist me, his only grandson, thanks in no small measure, I knew, to the fact that my grandmother was going to be shopping with my mom all afternoon. And that, if doctor's orders in regard to watching football were going to be broken, they should be broken to watch a Tennessee-Alabama game. Once home, I carefully chose my spot on the floor in front of the television. My grandmother loved clocks that tolled the time and, as we sat awaiting the start of the game, all around us the clocks began to chime in succession. As they chimed, I remember staring into a large mirror on the wall and seeing my reflection alongside my grandfather's. I saw myself, seated Indian-style, wearing my favorite orange T-shirt, my small hands jittery with excitement. I saw my grandfather seated in his favorite brown recliner just a short distance away, neck bobbing due to the bone spurs on his vertebrae, his bald head lightly sweating, large hands clenched tightly on his injured knees. His eyes were already locked on the television.

I remember thinking that this moment was perfect, a moment I would always remember. Kickoff between Tennessee and Alabama was just moments away, and I was going to be watching it for the first time with my grandfather. And then, suddenly, above the sound of the clocks chiming, the sound of the UT band playing "Rocky Top" echoed across the generational divide and sent the pulse racing in us both. At that moment, my grandfather seemed younger than he ever had before.

"Whatever you do, don't tell your grandma," he said.

"I won't," I promised.

On the television, Alabama's crimson clad team raced onto the field, and the orange crowd hissed. Then, the UT band formed a giant T on the field and the players rushed through, raising their index fingers skyward amid a raucous and jarring medley of sounds. Grandpa had played on this very field. His arms shook as he tightly gripped his injured knees. We were both so excited for the game that we were literally trembling. "They aren't excited enough" he warned. I turned and felt a chill run down the length of my spine. "They look ready to me," I said.

"They aren't. It's Alabama and they aren't ready," Grandpa said.

The game was close all the way, even though UT was heavily favored. Finally, late in the fourth quarter as the game neared its end, the score was tied at 6-6 and UT lined up to attempt a fifty-yard field goal to seal the victory.

Grandpa leaned forward in his recliner, head bobbing, brow sweating. I sat with my fists clenched so tightly that my fingers ached. With hardly any time remaining, the ball was snapped . . . and one of Alabama's players blocked the field goal. There was a mad scramble as the ball rolled around on the sunlit field, and Alabama recovered the blocked kick. Now, Alabama set up for their own forty-seven yard field goal to win the game. Neither Grandpa nor I said a word. The scene was repeated in reverse. The ball was struck and sailed through the uprights. The kick was good and, just like that, the game was over. Alabama had won.

Dixieland Delight
A Football Season on the Road in the Southeastern Conference
. Copyright © by Clay Travis. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Table of Contents


Introduction     1
The Quest     5
Tennessee     15
Eulogy for Jefferson Pilot Sports     42
Mississippi State     49
The Shaming of the Southland     69
Auburn     73
The Sports Grief Scale     96
Arkansas     103
The Bye Week     124
Georgia     129
'Bama Bangs     152
LSU     159
My Grandfather's Football Career     179
Vanderbilt     183
My Life as a Football Player     202
South Carolina     208
Why Can't We All Just Get Along?     234
Kentucky     238
Tim Tebow Is God     257
Florida     261
The Great Bad Punter     281
Alabama     285
Women of the SEC     306
OLE Miss     315
Lessons from the DDT     332
SEC Championship     339
Epilogue     359
Acknowledgments     365
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 10 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2007

    A reviewer

    This book is a must have for any college football or SEC football fan. Clay has stories that will cause you to laugh out loud as if you were there witnessing them yourself. His approach at this book is a true dream for any fan of the game.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2007

    Highly Recommended

    If you are a football fan, this book is for you. I am a big fan of college football and the SEC. This book is full of funny stories about the fans and traditions of schools in the SEC. If you have ever been to an SEC stadium, you will be laughing and nodding your head as you read this book. I highly recommend this book to all football fans.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2012

    Lunaclaw

    I am the medicine cat of HurricaneClan.Earlier this week,a so-called"Clan Inspector"tried to shut us down.If you see anything resembling this person,please tell me at Hurricane Island first result.May StarClan light your path.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2012

    Silverleaf

    Leaps into battle.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2012

    Bloodheart is killed

    Deathstar

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