Sunday, November 16, 2014

You Lose Some

Well, my Mississippi State Bulldogs lost to Alabama this weekend and fell from their #1 throne.  They'd been sitting there for 4 weeks, so they'd gotten the seat all nice and warm for Florida State.  It was good to be there as long as we were.  It's kind of like back in high school......when the same people would win everything......year after year.  You always knew whose name they'd call before they even said it.   And then, one day, a fresh, new face finally won something......and, well, it was like a breath of fresh air.  That's how I felt about us when we were #1.  We're that average girl, who's not very well known and who's never really run with the big crowd or won any big titles, but, for 4 weeks, we were elected homecoming queen.  (Analogies have never been one of my strong points, but you get what I'm saying.)          

I've decided I'm going to have to stay off of social media on game days.  Fans of all teams temporarily lose their sanity on game day.  The rants and excuses and smack talk and hating on the referees and criticizing the players and unfriending rival fans and expressions of all manner of hatred for the other team.   As soon as a game is over, the funny pictures with clever, sparring captions start to roll down the feed.  You know the ones.  Then you have the "in your face" comments and the downright obnoxiousness.           

I'm always in awe of fans who are bold enough to be so openly haughty.  If there's one thing I've learned in my many years as a State fan, it's that you should just keep your mouth all times.  Win or lose......just hush.   You're not going to make any friends by flapping your lips and you'll make it a whole lot easier on yourself when your team loses.....because they all will. 

We don't play about football down here in the South.  We're dead serious about it.  We'll sit in the cold, rain, snow, heat, wind, and the direct sunlight.  We'll suffer sunburns, windburn, laryngitis, sleep deprivation, blisters, and temporary hearing loss.  We'll pay $4 for bottle water, $20 for a plastic poncho that's the thickness of a Wal-Mart bag, an arm and a leg for tickets, and $25 to park 15 miles from the stadium.  We'll wait in line just a couple of minutes shy of eternity, get our blood pressure clearly out of the healthy range, and get home way past our bedtimes.

Last night, I got to thinking about the pressure that we put on these kids to perform for us.  We rely on them to save face for us at the water cooler on Monday morning, win our bets, prove us right, exact our revenge, back up our claims, fulfill our football dreams, and maintain our bragging rights.  That's not too much to ask, is it?.  There's not much room for error or a bad day or much of anything less than perfection.  A kid can be the hero one week and carry the weight of blame for a loss the next.....and the disappointment of hundreds of thousands of fans....and the critical comments of commentators.....and the "experts" and the has beens who pick them apart in the post game show.....and the articles that spell out their weaknesses and mistakes....and the online chats full of second guessing. 

They're praised publicly.  They're criticized publicly.  That's a lot for a young person to handle.  That's a lot for anyone to handle.   
I don't think it would do for me to be a mother of one of those boys.  I'd hate to have to kill people around me at the game, who were talking about Carson.  That would be unfortunate on so many levels.

Yeah, I know we love our teams.  For most of us, we cheer for the team who represents the school where we received our degree.....where we learned to do whatever it is that we do.  Maybe it's the team that your daddy always liked or where your husband played ball or where your mother graduated.  Maybe you've just always liked them and have no real connections.  That's ok, too.  As long as you're not a bandwagon fan, it's all good.   

Whatever the reason and whoever you cheer for, I think we represent our schools best when we keep things in perspective and are respectful, reasonable, and cool headed.  I've been so proud of my team's fan base.  I think they've shown a whole lot of class in our wins and in our loss.  Maybe it's because we're first time visitors in this foreign land.....this place called the top 5.  We're just as pleased as punch to be here.......and maybe a wee bit dumbfounded.......and sort of blushing in the spotlight.    

State fans are just so proud of their boys.  Like on most teams, a lot of them have overcome tremendous obstacles in their personal lives to get where they are today.  There are stories that will make you cry your eyes out.  No matter the team, they put in an unbelievable amount of work and their fans' support should be a matter what.   

After all, they're just kids.  Someone's boy. 

And in light of cancer, hunger, grief, evil, abuse, poverty, unemployment, disease, people without Jesus and 1,000 other more important's just a game, people.

Hail State!  Win or Lose. 






  1. i feel your pain girlfriend....i was pulling for Miss. State but could tell ya'll had a fight on your hands from the beginning. Based on how Ala. looked against LSU the weekend before and ya'll's hold on the No. 1 position I was hoping State would beat Bama. We took a beating from the Dawgs and will probably take one from Alabama in a couple of weeks too...they are out for revenge from last year.

    It's cold and raining here today and the temps are going down, down, down...hope you stay warm and dry!

    1. I'm loving this cold, Judy! This is what I've been waiting for all year!! :) I know I'm weird.

      I'm hoping that y'all can do something with Alabama next week! You never know when it comes to those rival games! Y'all will give it all you've got! War Eagle! :)

  2. My husband was so confused when he got in the car and it was on ESPN Radio. I told him I was listening to the Mississippi State/Alabama game because two of my "blog girls" were BIG Miss State fans! Sorry it didn't turn out better for you. But, I love, love, love how you said, "...they're just kids. Someone's boy." Very good perspective!

    1. Oh, Denice.......I love how you listened to that on our behalf :) I know Sophie would be equally touched. We're hoping that will be our only loss this season, but we've had a great time this season.....regardless of what happens. Thanks, Denice!