Thursday, October 11, 2012
Weekend trip to USM
Pam, Erin and I took another of our whirlwind trips over the weekend.
It was the weekend set aside to visit Emma and Andy in Hattiesburg at the University of Southern Mississippi.
We reserved tickets several weeks ago for the Golden Eagles’ football game versus Boise State. Then, we did not know the kickoff time, as TV would make that decision.
A week before the game we found out it would begin at 11 a.m. – not good for a newspaper editor who spends his Friday nights covering high school football.
We decided it best to leave Friday night, rather than get up at 4 a.m. Saturday.
Erin and I decided to take in the first half of the game between Marshall Academy and H.W. Byers and then rush home and head four and a half hours south to Hattiesburg.
Pam had us packed and ready to roll.
We left Holly Springs about 9:30 p.m. with Pam at the wheel first, while I updated Friday night football scores via The South Reporter’s Facebook page.
In Tupelo, we swapped and I drove the rest of the way.
Thank goodness for the caffeine (Mountain Dew) that Pam had on ice for us in a cooler. I needed almost all of it for this late-night road trip.
It’s actually a good time to travel – very little traffic on our route – which followed Highway 45 to Meridian and then I-59 south.
Emma had already checked into our hotel room and was waiting on us when we arrived at about 2 a.m.
Her little sister had not seen her in four months, since the Fourth of July. It was a long-awaited reunion, for both of them.
We got about five hours of sleep before having breakfast at the hotel and heading to the stadium.
Andy was already there, and we shared our hugs with him and met some of his new friends prior to kickoff. His seats were in a skybox, Emma’s in the student section and our’s just a few rows up in back of the end zone.
It was my second USM game of the season, the other being at Western Kentucky in Bowling Green a few weeks ago. This one did not turn out much better. The Golden Eagles dropped to 0-5.
Their streaks of 18 straight winning seasons and 10 straight bowl games are in dire jeopardy.
It has been a nightmare season thus far for new head coach Ellis Johnson.
Nevertheless, we enjoyed the game and meeting the people in the seats beside us and behind us. One man, who had his family at the game, once lived in Holly Springs and worked with Alliance Healthcare System. He is now with Wesley Medical Center in Hattiesburg.
A high school junior and her dad were from Lafayette, La. She was on a recruiting trip as a volleyball player.
Beside Pam was a family from Montgomery, Ala., whose nephew is in the band, The Pride of Mississippi.
We always enjoy our end zone seats, because they are beside the band. And there’s nothing like a great band, high school or college, to get you in the football spirit.
After the game, Andy’s girlfriend, Phoenix, joined us and we caught up on things and rested before enjoying dinner that night at Bianchi’s Pizzeria in downtown Hattiesburg.
We celebrated Emma’s good score on the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) – hard to believe she’s a college senior.
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