October 9 marks the third day since Tyler Ivens of WNML’s “The Startling Lineup” began spending his day atop a business building adjacent to the Knoxville interstate. He plans to stay put until the Tennessee Volunteers scoop up a win.
The Vols have recently come off a 43–14 loss from Georgia. Currently standing at 1–4 this season, the team isn’t faring terribly well. This, among other factors, spurred Tyler to pitch a tailgate tent on the aforementioned building and persevere until the Volunteers best another team.
The entire situation closely mirrors one that transpired some thirty years prior, in 1988. Duncan Stewart, also a radio show host, also took to unusual temporary living quarters for the same reason. He opted to reside on a billboard until the 1988 team, under Johnny Majors at the time, won.
But even Duncan admits that the team’s current state is more dire than it was back then. He stated that this lineup is horrible, but he placed even more blame on coach Jeremy Pruitt. He considers him worse than Majors, and that the former doesn’t deserve mention in the same sentence as the latter.
So now Tyler follows in Duncan’s footsteps. He set up camp modestly, but he isn’t exactly roughing it. He came with a lantern, air mattress, power supply, and (somewhat poor) Wi-Fi. Calling himself a man of his word, he intends to stick it out till the end with great conviction.
How The Situation Came to Be
The public witnessed sparks that bore this idea weeks ago. Will West, Tyler’s co-host, shared his opinion that there likely aren’t any wins awaiting Tennessee down the road. Tyler didn’t agree with the sentiment, and this comment triggered a weeks-long debate between the two.
The discussion escalated when Tyler made something akin to a bet. He claimed that he would be willing to camp out much like Duncan had before. Since he doubted that anyone would allow him to do so on a billboard, he suggested moving to a building roof. Even he confessed that he hadn’t expected the idea to come true.
The response to his stunt as thus far been resoundingly positive. However, many still remain more than a little skeptical about the Vols securing a win. No matter where they stand on the issue, most people showed appreciation for Tyler’s efforts.
The “wager” lasts till the end of October. Tyler remains unshaken in his confidence that the Volunteers will win by the end of the month. But should that not happen, he jokingly says that children will be coming to him for candy on Halloween.
While he’s still adamant about his intentions, he does confess that he has begun missing the everyday luxuries most of us enjoy. He found himself pining for showers, stoves, microwaves, and the like.
Living without a bathroom has proven the most challenging thus far, though. The offices below lock up their facilities in the evening, leaving him with scant few options. A drain and bucket will have to do for now. The noise from the interstate also started annoying him. He likened the constant buzzing to a perpetual NASCAR race.
Luckily, his endeavor garnered enough public attention for him to receive a little help. Local restaurants and other establishments have extended their hand in case he needed something. They mostly offer their food and lavatories. People now bring him several meals daily. He’s seen even more offers to bring him alcohol than food.