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What is one thing Michigan fans and Ohio State fans agree on? It’s not a trick question or foolish joke. At least not in Tellico Village. Here, a passion for the Lady Vols basketball team unites even the craziest die-hard fans from the most intense and storied rivalries.

Villagers who have joined the community from all over the country have learned to embrace the East Tennessee way and found pride in rooting for the Volunteers, especially for women’s basketball. As the third 1 seed in the NCAA tournament and 27-5 record, the Lady Vols have undoubtedly given fans in Knoxville something to applaud. Exciting wins over ranked teams and seat clinging finishes in the SEC tournament made for a contagious energy in 2014 that has been nearly impossible to avoid.

Needless to say, the team’s impressive season has brought neighbors closer through the camaraderie of cheering for stellar athletics. Whether watching the games at Thompson-Boling Arena or miles away at another school, you’re sure to find a group of Tellico Village residents decked in orange and white, singing “Rocky Top” at the top of their lungs. Some game days may even get a little rowdy down at the Yacht Club with Villagers simply enjoying a big win in the presence of friends who are more like family.

Strong love for the Lady Vols has even led to philanthropic efforts in the community. On May 7 at Rothchild’s in Knoxville, there will be a benefit, organized in part by Tellico Village residents, for the Kids First Child Advocacy Center. It is the organization’s annual dinner and Holly Warlick, head coach and Mickey Dearstone, voice of the Lady Vols will be in attendance to unite passions for sports and charitable giving under one roof.

Although the eclectic group of Villagers comes together to give back to those in need or simply relish in wins of their beloved Lady Vols, some rivalries are just in your blood and run thick during March Madness. As Villager Cheryl Ottaviano put it, “It’s always an interesting Sunday in church when Michigan and Michigan State play each other!” This tournament, have a little fun, embrace the insanity and live it up. Find a group to fill out brackets, watch games together and celebrate wins. After all, a little friendly competition never hurts.

*For tickets to the Kids First Child Advocacy Center Annual Dinner Auction, contact Denise at 865-986-1505

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