Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Rebel Resuscitation Required

He hadn't been to a college football game since he was a freshman at Memphis State in 1953.

The father of my bride went with me to the Ole Miss--Memphis game Saturday night. We rolled on to campus two hours before game time, searched in vain for a parking spot within easy walking distance of the stadium, and ended up parking off campus and hiking a mile in the waning heat of a waxing summer evening. I told him that somewhere on the bucket list of every southerner must be a visit to the Grove on a Game Day, and so, with time to kill before kick-off, we diverted for a stroll past (through is insanity nowadays) the Grove.

Having checked that box, we decided that by the time we walked over to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, stood in line at our gate, and climbed up to our perch on Row 65, we would have nothing but a short wait for the start of the game. Well, the parties in the Grove must have been good--the foot traffic to the stadium was still light less than a half hour before pre-game festivities and we were ensconced on our rootin' roost well before the vast majority of our fellow fans.

Several decades of gridiron mediocrity (interspersed with precious few above average seasons), institutional banishment of our mascot and other cherished traditions, and a perennial high ranking on the list of best party schools, has reduced our fan base to a moribund mob unable to hang around to watch the end of a ball game in which our team scored the most points since the last season Archie and Olivia's baby boy provided the heroics. By the time the fourth quarter began in the first rout we have enjoyed in what seems eons, the Rebel (ahem) faithful were racing the dejected Memphis fans to the exits. Ole Miss fans are the worst, and I are one--although I did and normally do stay to the final gun. We don't deserve a winning program. We can't even completely fill one of the smallest stadiums in Division I.

I'm proud for our team and happy we finally have a coach, but wish my father-in-law hadn't seen Ole Miss for what we really are. Particularly after hearing me brag for the past three decades.

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