Have you ever been so deliriously happy that for some inexplicable reason, tears welled up in your eyes and meandered down your cheeks along with your eye make-up? You looked like something from Halloween II while everyone looked at you as if you’d lost your dog or something equally tragic?
Well, I’ve been crying for the last three days. My eyes are swollen and the emotions I’m wearing on my sleeve are maroon, white, red and blue. I’ve read about tears of joy, but I’ve not experienced such ecstasy since the birth of my children.
It all began at Davis Wade Stadium last Saturday afternoon when the Mississippi State Bulldogs gave Auburn a “good whuppin’.” Fans, packed into the stadium like sardines, were hugging, high-fiving and jumping up and down. Me? I was standing there bawling like a baby and I don’t even understand the finer points of the game. I just like getting dressed up in school colors and watching people in the stadium. Not this time, sports fans. I watched every play and even spotted an Auburn player clip one of our guys. (A week ago I thought a clip was a hair utensil.)
Later that evening, we watched the Rebels pummel A & M almost as soundly as the Dawgs did the week before. I sat there with tears bubbling out my nose. It was a beautiful thing to behold, watching the State and Ole Miss players operate as a unit, all for one and one for all – making Mississippians around the world drop what they were doing and feel a part of this supreme coupe.
On Sunday morning I watched an ESPN special on Dak Prescott (at right) and my heart almost exploded. Entitled “Faith, Family and Football,” he explained his philosophy of life with humility and clarity befitting a true hero. If he doesn’t win the Heisman, something is terribly wrong with the system.
Of course, out and out sobbing began on Sunday when the new coaches’ poll was released. The Dawgs had arrived at that elusive Number One In The Nation slot with the Rebels close behind. Who could have imagined such a thing only weeks ago? The implications of all this extend way beyond the gridiron. They won’t have Mississippi to kick around any more.
Mississippi has “character” born of adversity and resolved in the love of our teams which are composed of us all. Pride and joy have brought all the state’s diverse groups together with a common voice and we adore this group of young players who have achieved what no politician or special interest group could ever accomplish.
Exquisitely beautiful and somewhat surprising to me were the reactions of both Coach Mullen and Coach Freeze. Mullen, a man after my own heart teared up while Freeze was so excited he fell down on the sidelines in America’s Funniest Video fashion.
The Clarion Ledger delivered the icing on the cake when they named my book “Love, Laughter & Losing My Keys: A Survival Guide for Baby Boomers” to the top ten reads in Mississippi. The book beat out Bill O’Reilly’s “Killing Patton.” Never in my wildest dreams could I imagine any of this. I figure people are weary of pestilence and ready for Mississippi State and Ole Miss to show the world how it should be done.