Fair weather football friend?

Our beagle, Molly, and I were moving along quickly in the 23-degree temperature and brisk breeze Sunday morning. Molly was in no mood to dawdle on her morning walk, and I wasn’t either.

My stocking cap and bubble coat were doing their best. I call it my bubble coat because the quilting is so puffy I can barely wedge myself between the car’s seat and the steering wheel if I try to wear it when I’m driving.
This time I wasn’t driving. I was walking the dog, and my toes were numb and my nose too cold to drip. Despite the bright sunshine, I was freezing
But I was smiling, thinking about how fortunate it was that I had not bought tickets to the Ole Miss-Missouri football game the evening before in Oxford. Watching the game on television and seeing the stocking-capped, scarf-wrapped fans trying to stay warm was enough.
I would have been miserable, I thought. But not as miserable as Ole Miss fans because my team was winning. I’m a graduate of the University of Missouri and have followed the ups and downs of the Tigers for 50 years.
I was really excited when Missouri joined the Southeastern Conference two years ago, because I thought I would finally get to see my team play once in a while at a nearby stadium. And when Missouri showed up on the Ole Miss schedule, I couldn’t wait.
“We’ll have to get tickets,” I told Jenny.
When single-game tickets first went on sale, we talked about going. The game would be on the weekend before we would go to my sister’s house in Kansas City for Thanksgiving.
Then I started thinking about college football games at Thanksgiving. Twice we had gone to watch Missouri play its longtime rival Kansas in the Border War at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City on Thanksgiving weekend.
The coldest college game I ever attended (8 degrees) was 2007 when Missouri, ranked No. 3 nationally, defeated Kansas, ranked No. 2, by 36-28. More than 80,000 screaming fans, layers of long underwear, an exciting game and a winning score made up for the temperature. Well, almost.
Anyhow, in the end, I procrastinated and never ordered tickets to the Ole Miss game. Part of it may have been that we usually cheer for Ole Miss and have been to a half dozen or so games in our four years here. Our son Joe, although not a big sports fan, is a student at Ole Miss.
And Jenny, who teaches fourth-grade language arts in the Oxford public schools, said she was conflicted about which team she wanted to win because she had one of Ole Miss Coach Hugh Freeze’s daughters in her class last year.
“They seem like a nice family; it doesn’t seem right to root against them,” she said.
So in the end, I sat on my couch with two of our dogs and cheered for my Tigers. Jenny and Joe sat across the room with the other dog and cheered for the Rebels.
And we were all toasty warm.

T. Wayne Mitchell, Gazette publisher, can be reached 662-534-6321.

About Chris Elkins

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