Thursday, October 9, 2014
Cheers for Rebs, Dogs
My roots are in Alabama, but I’ve spent more of my days in Mississippi. I’ve seen the enormous good of both states and maybe a little bad, too.
I was born in Selma and raised in Hamilton. I stayed in Alabama for 25 years. I moved to Mississippi in 1986, got to know and love the people of this state, too, and it’s been my home for 28 years.
Saturday about 6 p.m., when the final horn sounded on the Ole Miss versus Alabama football game, my emotions were mixed.
I was actually watching the game in Alabama, with my two sisters, who have lived in that state all their lives.
All three of us were raised to love the Crimson Tide, during those Paul “Bear” Bryant days.
No, I didn’t go to college at the University of Alabama. I had to take a better option financially for my mother and go to the University of North Alabama. But growing up there, you’re either ’Bama or Auburn, no straddling the fence. My home and office are filled with Crimson Tide shirts, photos, memorabilia, etc.
Needless to say, the Tide has had tons of success over the years, and a few lows, too. I will always love Alabama. The state has a chunk of my heart.
But it was with great pride I watched both Mississippi State and Ole Miss win Saturday, improve to 5-0 and make a huge statement for the State of Mississippi as a whole in front of national television audiences. It was a historic day for Mississippi, and this great state has a portion of my heart, too. It’s where I met my wife. It’s where all three of my children were born.
It’s where I’ve attended games in Starkville and Oxford and Hattiesburg. Daughter Emma graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi, where my son Andy is a student now.
And rather ironically, Andy who grew up loving Ole Miss, but decided to attend USM, was in Starkville over the weekend for Bulldog Bash and Mississippi State’s whipping of Texas A&M.
Mississippi State and Ole Miss deserved to win Saturday. They were the better football teams.
And having SEC Nation at Starkville and ESPN GameDay in Oxford made the huge victories even more special. The pre-game and post-game shows and the football games themselves put Mississippi in the national spotlight – big-time.
This week, with the new rankings out, both the Rebels and the Bulldogs are in the top five and deservedly so. And by the way, ESPN GameDay is headed to Starkville this weekend.
The Southeastern Conference, without a doubt, is the toughest conference in the nation. And the SEC West is loaded with talent.
The season is far from over as the Rebels, the Bulldogs and the other SEC teams continue through a grueling week-to-week schedule.
But no matter what happens from here on out, I too will always remember October 4, 2014.
First, my Ole Miss friends won’t ever let me forget the Rebels knocked off Alabama on that day.
Secondly, it was a day where the state showcased its football fans and their love for their universities and their favorite teams, plus the wonderful universities and the talented football players and coaches themselves.
And everyone got to see that Mississippi is a great place to live or visit.
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