The joke that a dear friend started several years ago about my ability to switch teams that I cheer for was determined by who I was dating at the time is somewhat true. Now I am a fairly independent minded female. I was that kid who asked questions, thought about the differences and tended to march to a different drummer.
Who else would take German in high school only because fewer people took it? That would be me. There are times that I do wish that I had taken up French but hey, I have always liked being the goofy, different kid. While in school, all my friends from church balked at going to church camp as we got older. Me? I went, made friends and ended up on the Youth Council. It was were I could make my mark, be my own person and not have to sit in the shadows of the popular kids at church.
I became a fan of the University of Georgia because a. it wasn’t Tennessee b. there was no orange to be seen c. my love of all things Lewis Grizzard. I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to go to UGA but seeing as how I wasn’t the brightest nor did I have a trust fund that could send me there, I settled on community college and then MTSU. Yet another step off the beaten path since everyone I knew was going to UTK or UTC. Again, not a fan of Tennessee nor of the color orange, so I continued to be a Raider and settled in middle Tennessee, where I found some of the greatest friends I could have ever hoped for.
Sonia was one of those friends. She was loud, crazy, said things to get a reaction and I think I spent most of my time laughing while shaking my head hearing everything that came out of her mouth. She has ended up being one of those friends that can cut to the chase and tell me how things are and that I need to get my head out of my butt.
She is also the person who came up with the whole, “Let’s make fun of Amy for liking this or that team because of her boyfriend.” Yes Sonia, I will admit that George and the boy had some impact on the teams I cheer for but I have formulated my reasonings for liking those teams as well.
George and I were together for two and a half year, he comes from a long line of Steeler fans. At first I still cheered for the Titans but by the second football season I was hooked. A great team, a great history, a coach who took no bull and a family who still owned and ran the team. Now my future husband, Ben Rothlisberger, needs a swift kick to the butt, I will not deny that, nor will I deny that they have found a few trouble makers throughout their history but I love that team. I will wear my black and yellow til the day I die. Kind of ironic since those two colors are my former rival high school colors but I digress.
I cheer for them proudly and argue with my father about giving credit to a good team, one that has made it known that thugs need not apply. I have waved my Terrible Towel at LP Stadium and even in the suite that my employer owns.
But this whole college thing has kind of been a struggle for me. I love my Dawgs, I do. But I have never been to a game, never been to Athens, GA to visit the school. I have been on Vanderbilt’s campus more times than I can count including games. But I have this thing for Vandy, any good natured SEC fan should pull for them. They need all the help they can get.
This is where the boy, whom I haven’t written about in forever, comes into the picture. I think it is fair to say that given a choice, he would stay in college forever. He is obsessed with Ole Miss. Hoddy Toddy Ya’ll! Yep, the boy probably still feels like he is back in Oxford, at the frat house, talking about the good ole days. He took me to The Grove twice. And I would go back in an instant. I was born and raised in the South but apparently fit in better with those “Yankees” as my father likes to call them. This was the one place where small town living didn’t give me hives.
The school is rich with history, some good, some bad. But I fell in love on a warm day down at The Grove. It wasn’t about the boy though. It was about tailgating, football and drinking at 10AM on a Saturday morning. I loved it. I loved the energy in the stadium. I soon collected Ole Miss gear and the boy suggested I get an Ole Miss tag, something that I haven’t done yet.
The boy is gone but my love of Ole Miss carries on. It is about tradition, remembering history and people watching while drinking a Jack and Diet on a crisp, fall day. So if you hear Dixie, stand, pull your cap to your chest and think of that beautiful campus.
And for my friends, sorry! I confess that I just can’t break up with Ole Miss. I tried, really I did but I just can’t walk away from it. And Sonia, I owe you a drink next time I am in Nashville. And you can razz me once again for cheering for a team that I originally did not cheer for and I will not try to justify it!