Victory is a sweet reward in any contest. Even sweeter the victory over an old rival.
Then, there is the absolute sugar-rush, near diabetic coma sweetness of a win against Alabama.
To be an Ole Miss Rebel is to know some of the most frustrating football fanaticism known to mankind. Unlike the millions of bandwagon fans sporting RTR and Geaux Tigers t-shirts, an Ole Miss Rebel wears his Red and Blue for an entirely different reason and with an entirely different passion.
Bandwagon fans gravitate to, and identify with, perennial winners, puffing out their chests and proclaiming "We!" about a team for which their only association is a sense of a lack of self-worth shared with a million other otherwise losers. They strut their Walmart-bought Tide and Tiger apparel like pre-pubescent peacocks preening on the outside of the mating arena.
Ole Miss Rebels wear their fan togs like a penitent wears a smudge of ash the day after Fat Tuesday.
But, the Colonel digresses too far into that rabbit warren of self-pity-driven hatred. He'll attempt to collect himself for coherence sake.
That, and the angry spittle is beginning to cover the computer monitor screen to the point that it is becoming difficult to see what the Colonel is tippy-tapping on the keyboard.
The Colonel will concede that the University of Alabama, more often than not in his lifetime, fields one of -- if not the -- best football teams in the country.
And, far more often than not, in the Colonel's lifetime, the University of Alabama's football team has waltzed over his Rebels, whipping our boys around as easily as Fred led Ginger.
(For the LSU grads attempting to follow the Colonel's witty use of digital analog, Ginger Rogers -- not Gilligan's Ginger -- was the dance partner of the greatest dancer -- Fred Astaire -- of the 20th Century.)
The Tide's all-time win record against the Rebels is so lop-sided that most Ole Miss Rebels can count all of the Rebel wins they have witnessed on one chain-saw mangled hand.
The Colonel has been to two -- count-'em -- two games against 'Bama from which his Rebels emerged victorious. The first was in 1976.
The second was last night.
That win-loss record frustration is compounded by a phenomenon that EVERY SINGLE Ole Miss Rebel immediately calls to mind the second Alabama football is mentioned -- the refs are always for the Tide.
The Colonel knows he sounds like a whiney crackpot conspiracy theorist. To which notion he replies, "who you callin' a 'conspiracy theorist?!?'"
(Hey LSU fans, did you see what the Colonel did right there? No? Well, look, the Colonel said that somebody might call him a "whiney crackpot conspiracy theorist" for believing that the refs always call a game in favor of Alabama; and then the Colonel's refutation implied that he was indeed a whiney... Oh, never mind.)
Look, the Colonel won't bore you with a recitation of game and quarter, play and flag from the Book of 'Bama. Just know that, yes, we have a self-pitying, venom-filled "Book of 'Bama," and that said tome includes countless verses recited faithfully by every Ole Miss Rebel above the age of accountability at every mention of the annual matchup.
The officiating in favor of Alabama has gotten so bad in recent years that Ole Miss Rebels have even started to accept it as fate. We're being punished. We deserve punishment, but that's beside the fact.
Perhaps the worst thing about the officiating in favor of Alabama is that, as the Colonel explained to a 'Bama fan seated in front of him -- in seats sold by a traitorous money-grubbing psuedo-Rebel season-ticket holder -- "the most frustrating thing is that y'all don't need the refs help to beat us."
So, just before the half last night, with the Tide clinging to a 7 - 3 lead after scoring the first touchdown allowed by the Rebel first-string D all season, three -- count 'em -- three refs, all standing within five yards of, and looking directly at, one of the most flagrant face mask infractions ever perpetrated by a defender, watched in Alabama-lovin' relief as the 'Bama defender knocked the ball out of the arms of the Rebel runner, whose head had been yanked violently 90 degrees away from the direction the rest of his body was traveling at a dead sprint. The ball was picked up and returned for an Alabama touchdown.
14 to 3 at the half.
During the half-time performance of the Pride of the South, the Colonel sat dejectedly processing through the five steps of grief.
"That didn't just happen did it?"
"Oh, the agony! I can't keep going through this every year! Good Lord, what have I done? I know it must somehow be my fault."
"Boo, refs, boooo! Why can't you just let us lose the game without all the calls going against us?"
"Oh, no! State won their big game against A&M earlier and if we lose to Bama, the cow-tippers will never let us forget it. The thought of facing State fans tomorrow is too depressing to event contemplate."
"Oh well, we are Ole Miss."
It is a very good thing that the Colonel was not in the Rebel locker room at half-time.
It is a very good thing that Hugh Freeze, Dave Wommack, and company were. What an incredible challenge they faced.
What an incredible job they did, keeping the team focused and ready to play the second half against Satan's... errr, Saban's demons... errr, players.
Don't get in a huff, 'Bama fans. You've called us worse.
Or maybe not. Most of you don't even know we exist on the schedule, what with your preoccupation with Iron Bowl meltdowns against Auburn.
Sorry, the hate is just too strong. Forgive me, Lord.
Long story made short -- the Ole Miss athletic department will be submitting an order for two new goal posts come Monday morning.
The Colonel will neither confirm nor deny that he participated in destruction of University property.