The editor of my local newspaper asked me to write an essay about all the things I love about my hometown of Starkville, Mississippi. I sent in a dissertation that was probably too long to print, but I left something out.
I love football weekends when our college team is playing away from home. I live in an old neighborhood where homes are close together. There are lots of students and constant high energy. When we’re “away”, Mississippi State football fans gather all up and down the street to watch the game, dragging their television sets outside. I’m not sure why they set up on their porches and lawns, except to get the feel of an open air stadium.
They set up tents and produce impressive edible spreads – just like they would if they were tailgating at the stadium. These revelers are mostly in their 20s and 30s, but they always invite me – probably to keep me from complaining about the noise when they whoop and holler. They also request my spinach artichoke dip.
What they don’t know is that I love the racket. As I was digging in my garden just now, I heard them shout in unison, “Offsides! No way.” I knew we had just received a penalty.
Two plays later the cacophony of cowbells began to explode, accompanied by shrieks that could curdle the blood. I knew we had scored a touchdown. I smiled. Almost immediately the college kids across the street began to yell. I knew we had made the extra point.
What a way to “see” the game. But it was getting close to half time, so I went in to clean up and heat up the dip. I was thinking that given the choice, I wouldn’t live anywhere else on the planet.