Faithful followers of this column, may recall that I am in a mixed marriage.
Some of you may relate. It’s tough at times, not gonna lie, and especially now that there are kids involved. We want to teach them tolerance and respect, but it’s hard for children whose parents come from backgrounds so vastly different.
At some point, the kids must struggle with the question that has been hanging over their heads since the day they were born: Am I a Rebel, or Am I a Bulldog?
Forgive me, readers–I know this is purple and gold country, with the occasional green (I didn’t forget Tulane, Daddy). But y’all, there is Crazy Stuff going on in Mississippi right now, and Mississippi is our neighbor. As Southerners, it is our job to talk about our neighbors, bless their hearts.
Should you live in the blackest of caves, allow me to fill you in: among the top three ranked college football teams in the WHOLE COUNTRY, two are in Mississippi.
I know. I KNOW. The devil is surely wearing long underwear and a chalet down coat from Land’s End because he’s got to be freezing right about now.
I’m a Louisiana girl at heart, but I’m an Ole Miss grad who can’t help but wax poetic about my dearest, most darling Rebels and their No. 3 ranking. My husband’s alma mater, another Mississippi university, is ranked No. 1. That’s nice for them, too. I’m annoyed the Rebs didn’t move up from Nov. 3 after our Texas A&M victory, but what do I know, right? No, really, what do I know about how they rank these teams? The answer is, nothing. But I do know there is some winning going on next door, and Mississippi people are LOSING THEIR MINDS.
Case in point, my husband and I are friendly to one another EVEN DURING THE GAMES. We might even say, “Y’all got a bad call right there.” Or, “Your team looked good.” Or–and this is HUGE–you might overhear, “Good for you.” No sarcasm, even.
Are you feeling the love? Because it’s right here, in this House Divided–at least until one of our teams loses. Or until the Egg Bowl, a game that could very well send us into marriage counseling. “YOU WANT ME TO FAIL!!!” “WHY CAN’T YOU JUST BE ON MY SIDE FOR ONCE????”
Egg Bowl aside, generosity and half-hearted support abound in my home for now, and it’s inspired me to ask, dear readers–even those of the LSU variety–might you offer up a little “Hotty Toddy” for my Rebs Saturday when we play Tennessee? Because orange sure is an ugly color, and also, we beat that Saban man, which I know means something to y’all. While I can’t speak for all of Ole Miss Fandom, I’m happy to return the favor and wish you well against Kentucky.
We can go back to normal, hollering “Geaux to Hell” and throwing things at one another, when we meet up Oct. 25 in Death Valley. All affection forgotten as soon as LSU broadcasts on the Jumbotron that ancient clip of Billy Cannon’s Halloween run, annoying the heck out of Rebel fans because ENOUGH WITH THAT RUN ALREADY, GEEZ.
For now, though, let’s be friends, OK? Not, like, BFFs–we don’t have to get matching necklaces or anything. I’m talking about the kind of friendship where I cheer for you, and you cheer for me, and then I beat you up at your own house and go to the playoffs.
Now let’s sing Kumbaya. Here’s to keeping the SEC interesting.
(Betsy Swenson can be reached at email@example.com.)