38 Things I’ll Always Remember

1. Sister and I left the house about 6:45 Saturday morning, but we pulled over at a gas station right at 8 so we could see the opening for ESPN College Game Day from Starkville. We grinned like crazy and watched for about 90 seconds before we got back on the road.

2. We figured out how to stream Game Day from Sister’s phone to my car stereo and listened the rest of the way to Starkville. Sometimes technology is handy.

3. Sister looked at the sky approximately 14 times and said, “Nahhhh – I don’t think it’s gonna rain today.”

4. About six hours later I recalled Sister’s weather forecast and marveled at the sweet, sweet irony.

5. Everything was already so crowded when we got to State around 9:30 that we just barely got a parking space in our favorite parking lot.

6. However, once we were safe and sound in a parking space, we took several minutes to touch up and also spray our hair.

7. Say it with me one more time: sweet, sweet irony.

8. About 5 minutes into our trek to the stadium / bookstore / Junction, I realized that I’d made a grave miscalculation with my choice of shoes.

9. By the time we pushed our way through the humidity and walked in the bookstore, I was in dire need of two things: a different pair of shoes and about 3 bottles of ice-cold water.

10. I couldn’t do a thing about the shoes, but I drank my first bottle of water in record time.

11. Then I drank the 2nd bottle of water because HOT.

12. Then we walked over to The Junction to secure our spot for Dawg Walk.

13. Now this is only an estimation, of course, but it is my firm belief that there were roughly FOUR TRILLION PEOPLE in the general vicinity of The Junction.

14. However, there was also a Cheez-It tent near the place where we always stand for Dawg Walk, and I immediately decided it was a sign of good things to come.

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15. The sun was like a laser Saturday morning, and after about 10 minutes of trying to shield our faces from imminent skin damage, Sister remembered that she had an umbrella with her. We spent the next 90 minutes crouching under that umbrella and dodging the sun as best we could. Honestly, that umbrella may have been the only thing standing between us and a severe case of sun poisoning.

16. Dawg Walk, as it turned out, was a little crowded. via

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17. It was also loud.

18. But it was glorious.

19. After Dawg Walk we went back to Daph’s tailgate, where I promptly apologized for being low energy and sat down in a chair and stared off into space and maybe also ate some ribs.

20. Approximately 15 minutes after I sat down, I had a talk with myself. I said, “SISTER,” (I don’t normally call myself “sister,” but apparently I was trying to empower myself), “this is a BIG DAY. The biggest in MSU football history, in fact. So stand up and PEP UP, and FIND SOME ENERGY, MISSY.” (I don’t normally call myself “missy.”)

21. Then we walked over to the stadium.

22. I may have prayed for a breeze.

23. I don’t know if I mentioned this after the A&M game, but the new addition to Davis-Wade Stadium is FANTASTIC. It’s beautiful, it’s the new home of the student section, and it’s pretty much non-stop noise from warm-ups until well after the game.

24. I tried to seize some pre-game optimism from the students, but I honestly felt a little sick right up until kick-off (NERVES, MIND YOU). Needless to say, I was relieved and surprised when we scored 21 points in the 1st quarter. Totally surreal.

25. The rain started in the 2nd quarter, and when the bottom fell out (thankfully I was sitting under an overhang), I got a text from Melanie. Clearly I was in a place of deep dependence on the Lord when I answered her.

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26. Sister sat with some friends from our hometown during the first half, and when she walked up to our seats at the end of halftime so that she could borrow my rain jacket, she was soaked to the bone. However, our mama would have been tickled to note that Sister’s lipstick was still perfectly applied, and her eye make-up had never looked better.

27. Sister sat next to me during the 2nd half. Every time she rang her cowbell, a little rain flew out. It made me happy.

28. About mid-way through the 4th quarter, I started to entertain the notion that we just might win. In the way that is unique to Mississippi State fans, I thought of every possible worst-case scenario – a dramatic comeback by Auburn, a series of turnovers by us, a plague of locusts descending upon the stadium – but from a purely mathematical perspective, I felt the slightest bit hopeful.

29. And then we intercepted on our goal line.

My bottom lip got all quiver-y.

30. Because when you’ve cheered for a team your whole life – when you’ve watched them struggle way more than you’ve watched them succeed – you can get used to holding the short end of the stick. That’s not to say that we haven’t had some good years at State (heaven knows the last few have been all sorts of fun), but we’ve never had a team like this one. Not in my lifetime.

31. And as the clock was winding down, I tried to wrap my brain around what was happening on that field. Our beloved Bulldogs were more than likely going to be the #1 team in the nation. To people as practical as State fans, that sort of thing can feel like pie-in-the-sky (we tend to err on the side of cautiously optimistic). But it was for real.

32. Because that team on the field? They are for real.

33. Right before the alma mater and the fight song, I picked up my purse and my cowbell, and as I turned around, Sister said, “I’m gonna need to stay here for just a few more minutes. I just want to take it all in. I want to soak it all up. Is that okay?”

34. It most certainly was.

38-23 from boomama on Vimeo.

35. About an hour later, we finally made it back to the car. We were exhausted from the sun and the crowds and the nerves and, in Sister’s case, the downpour. But we were just beside ourselves. Tickled to pieces.

36. On the way home Sister and I talked about how Mississippi State has always been a working class school. We’re farmers. Teachers. Veterinarians. Engineers. Architects. We like to grow things, and we like to build things. We’re not flashy, we’re not pretentious, and heaven knows there’s nothing fancy about us. We like to get our hands dirty, we like to work hard, and we like to look out for each other. We value loyalty more than just about anything.

37. This year’s football team – well, they personify everything I just mentioned. Granted, they’re also talented – but more than anything else, they work hard, and they fight for each other. They seem to value “we” more than “I,” and they are such a blast to watch. So no matter what happens from here on out, they have made us all so proud.

38. And they really are #1. Our Mississippi State Bulldogs. The #1 football team in the country. Now doesn’t that just beat all?

Hail State, y’all.

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Comments

  1. I have been waiting for this post since Sunday morning! I am so thrilled for you. It also gives me great hope that one day my Vols will see glory again as well. Happy Football Season to you! May the Lord prevail over your boys so we can see them victorious in January!

    • Yes, Traci! State gives this VFL hope also.
      I will be cheering your Dogs on the rest of the season. Good luck, State!

  2. Sophie, I got all teary eyed right before our boys took the field and the tears flowed when it was over. It was an amazing day in the lives of all us die hard bulldog fans! Hail State!

  3. As a die hard South Carolina gamecock I need to tell you that over the course of the last 3 weeks I have declared more than once that after my gamecocks, I am now a Mississippi State Bulldog fan. It has been so much fun it is to watch your team rise to the occasion and stand tall. In fact so much fun that at a wedding Saturday afternoon, I checked my phone approximately one million times to see what was going on in the game. If this keeps up in the state of Mississippi, the Egg Bowl is going to be EPIC! Congratulations and Hail State!!!

  4. Sheryl Potts says:

    This LSU fan is tickled pink (or purple and gold!) for you and all my State friends! There’s nothing in the world of college sports quite like being at the top! Enjoy it, it’s well-deserved! I promise I’m going to celebrate with you as my Tigers pull themselves together in this “rebuilding” year!!! Geaux Tigers and Hail State!! We ARE the SEC!!

  5. Gloria Bruister says:

    Hail State!! Congrats to all the State fans! Your team has worked hard and deserves their glory! Now, I must go back and cheer on my beloved Alabama Crimson Tide! Roll Tide Roll!!

  6. dawn chambers says:

    Hail State!! I couldnt wait to read how you felt about this game. Here is my post on FB when I shared your story… “If you are from Mississiippi or just love someone from Mississippi this will make your heart happy and your eyes tear up. And it doesn’t matter that you love the Rebs more than the Bulldogs…its just a feel good story for our state! Phillip Addam #30 reminded me of you and your lifetime! Ashleigh Terrazas share this with HAT.And Priscilla Mahan Smith make sure my brother sees and reads this one … It’s good!!”

    And it is a really good team, but that’s almost secondary. its the heart and work that makes its such an awesome story.

    We will continue to watch our bulldogs from the great state of Texas…but our heart and spirit is where the bulldogs are!!

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    Write a comment…

  7. Celeste Conner says:

    My niece, a former AU Miss Homecoming, married a Miss State boy a couple of years ago. My sister’s family lives in Auburn. I don’t mean they go there frequently. I mean, the children grew up attending Auburn City Schools and playing Little League at Auburn city ballparks. Obviously, the Miss State boy had to have his wedding in Auburn, Alabama.

    They fell in love quickly and wanted to marry quickly–and before football season began. Her church was available on the weekend that they chose, but all the reception places were booked. My niece desperately tried not to subject her future husband to an orange-and-blue wedding, but the brand-new Auburn Arena had a perfect space–and it was available.

    Family and friends gathered at the Auburn Arena to congratulate the newlyweds. We danced to a Motown cover band amidst two-story tall pics of Auburn greats. We ate a slice of groom’s cake guarded by a life-sized Miss State bulldog. And at the end of the party, instead of handing out rice or rose petals (or whatever is trendy these days), the lingering guests were given a cowbell. We rang them as the newlyweds ran to their getaway car. It was a beautiful start to life as a blended family.

    My niece texted me Sat night and said that their marriage will last.

    This War Eagle family will be hollering Hail State for the rest of the season.

    Congrats.

  8. I totally cried in the 4th quarter! For once it was tears of joy instead of frustration/heartbreak (e.g. the 3-2 Auburn victory a few years ago, losing to the Maine Black Bears, losing to Troy in a Homecoming downpour, etc.)! Totally surreal, you’re right! A day I will never forget! So thankful to be a part of it all! Starkville and campus have been so fun for the past few weeks!

  9. Christine says:

    Like the “tens” of others who read your blog, I’ve been waiting for this post since about 5:00 Saturday afternoon! I could not be more delighted for you and the whole state of Mississippi! What a ball! And you SEC folks are such a hoot…no other conference in the country is as empathetic and supportive as y’all are! Out here in PAC-12 land (where my beloved Trojans wouldn’t know a viable defensive formation if it slapped them on the forehead!) no Bruin fan would ever deign to clap for SC after years of mediocrity. It is a delight to see y’all come alongside the Bulldogs. They are a remarkable team this year and my goodness, that Dan Mullen is the real deal! We all could use a man like that giving us pep talk every week!

  10. been waiting on this post! That was was surreal. I can’t believe we are #1!! I still get teary eyed and chills watching videos! Ha1l State

  11. That game was fantastic! So happy for you and for all of my MSU friends (I’m in Alabama). Oh, how I love SEC football! :-)

  12. For over 33 years now, I’ve been a faithful, true maroon fan! Maroon is in my blood. And to see this day happen, this season happen, this makes all those years of cheering even when we knew we were going to loose, worth it. I love my bulldogs, I love my school, and I LOVE that we’re #1!!!!

  13. Sophie, if you had a hall of fame for blog posts this post would be in it!

    Couple of thoughts:

    I do believe MSU is the real deal and totally deserves the number one ranking.

    Y’all better back up a Brinks truck to Mullen’s house, cause every school needing a coach is gonna be coming after him, including, I bet, Florida.

    SEC! SEC! SEC!

    I’ll be puling for you all the way through the SEC championship, but since blood is thicker than water, I’ll have to root for Baylor to beat you in the national championship!

  14. Love this post! Congratulations on your win. We cheered from Arkansas. But on November 1 in Starkville? Well, we aren’t gonna talk about that right now.

  15. I can’t tell you how much this game made my day. After quite a few years of reading your blog I’ve become a State fan (after my 1st love, LSU). I’m just so proud of those boys!

  16. Kathleen G says:

    I’m not a football fan other than I do get a bit loyal for the Cardinals. My husband said people get real excited watching college games. I’ve been reading your blog & Melanie’s for a few years and I’m so so so happy for you. Reading this post made me realized how much you love your Mississippi State and the Bulldogs. Kathleen in Az

  17. Great post! Hail State!

  18. I went to Auburn and I can tell you that we are often the underdog too. I think that’s part of the reason I told my husband after the game that if we had to lose to someone, I’m glad it was you guys. I loved the excitement/dancing on your sidelines and I loved your coach’s comments after the game and how he kissed his wife and then the quarterback. He seemed very nice and humble and I value that a lot. Congratulations on a great game and I will be cheering for your team for the rest of the year. So glad you were able to be there!

  19. LOVED THIS POST!!
    Especially loved #36…..American values right there.

  20. No matter our school, we are all so happy for you Boo. Missy. Sister. Hail State!

  21. Made me cry! So happy for you and your team! Enjoy it!

  22. I was gone all day Saturday, but the first thing I asked Hubster: Did Mississippi State win? His answer: BooMama is dancing! So thrilled!

    In a weird, sporty kind of way, I can relate. I’ve been a KC Royals fan my whole life; I moved to KC in 1985, the last year they won the World Series. This year, they are pulling off one of the most amazing runs in MLB history! I went on a cruise last weekend with a bunch of girlfriends from KC. Every night, we had to find a TV in a bar and watch the baseball games! That’s how excited we are!

    Hail State! Let’s Go Royals! Party like it’s 1985!

  23. As we watched the game I kept wondering if you were there and experiencing this fabulous moment in State football. Funny, how we can now hope for good things for people we have never met in person but love through blogs and books. We are a LSU/Baylor home, so we have known the thrill of being number one and we also have known being at the bottom of the conference…That too has changed for Baylor. So happy for y’all but like someone commented previously, watch out after this rebuilding year for the Tigers. :) I loved this post! It will be fun driving through MS on the way to NC in a couple of weeks.

  24. Stephanie Pickle says:

    I cried after the game, like you said we have been waiting so Long for this!!!! We stuck by them during the bad and the good. I LOVE MS STATE!!!!!

  25. Jennifer S says:

    So happy for you Sophie! My husband is very angry at Saban for his choice of new Offensive Line coach so I think we will be State fans this season :)

  26. I’m an Auburn fan through and through, and I’ll be right there with y’all hollering, “Hail State” if you make it to the NC. Miss State is nothing to play with this year, and I’m so happy for you that you had such a great time at the game. War Eagle and Hail State!

  27. It’s such a fun time to be a Bulldog! Hail State! :)

  28. Sophie,

    As a lifelong MSU fan I couldn’t be happier. After 12 yrs away from the Deep South my family is closer to home. Fall break aligned with this game and my dad was able to get us tickets! I haven’t been on campus since my sister graduated about 15 yrs ago. Needless to say, things have changed. It was indeed a honor to watch the Bullgods become the number 1 team in the country. Amazing! Kinda reminds me of those John Bond days; but only BETTER. Hail State!

  29. love this post! i so wish i could have been there and considering heading to Lexington to see them play. we have so waited for this day to come. great was to sum up the glorious day! my little is sad for her dad who is an Auburn fan.

  30. What a wonderful day!! Loved your post!!!

  31. Lindsay D. says:

    In #30…I know exactly what you mean about the short end of the stick. South Carolina struggled through 0-21 there for a while in 1998-1999. It. was. awful. Can you imagine 21 straight losses?!? I’ve always loved my Gamecocks, and I always will, but I find myself cheering for your team every week these days. Congratulations!

  32. You echoed my thoughts & emotions perfectly. There was some shoutin’ going on in Orlando, FL, and possibly a teary eye. And we are still celebrating. Ran into a fan with an MSU lanyard around her neck in a restaurant last night & spotted flags on her car. It’s our turn!

  33. Janet Worthy says:

    I envy you being in my beloved Starkville, or StarkVegas as I’m coming to realize:) Does that mean I graduated from StarkVegas High School? As I sat in my den on Saturday and listened to announcer after announcer pick State over Auburn, I began to get sick, a nervous sick like I have not felt in years. By the 4th quarter I was weeping the ugly cry; just could not believe the fate of my Bulldogs ~ we know how to lose graciously:) but how to be #1 in the nation??? I’m loving learning how to this week!

  34. I got SO excited about this win. It’s amazing, enjoy every moment of this season. Hail State, ring a cowbell, Go Bulldogs!

  35. Sophie, you have made an entire blogging community fall in love with a football team! I am a Texas Ex/Lifetime Longhorn BUT Saturday we were all BULLDOGS!! Your enthusiasm even has me rooting for Mississippi State when most of my Mississippi relatives attended other colleges there!! : ) For years you have been the most passionate, LOYAL, POSITIVE fan of anyone I’ve ever seen and now that loyalty is being rewarded! Congratulations!!!! Enjoy every single second of this remarkable season!!! Hail State!! xoxoPhyllis

  36. I loved reading this. I am an Auburn fan. A really big one. Saturday was awful for me. Luckily, I live in Auburn now, and misery loves company. But I also lived in Mississippi for 7 years, so I get it. I’ve nursed my State and Ole Miss fans through the struggle that has been Mississippi football. Deep down in the inner parts of my soul that I will not admit to my Auburn friends, I’m enjoying watching all of this unfold for my Mississippi peeps. Kudos to all of you for not storming the field Saturday. (I was at the Auburn/Alabama game last year, and I’m telling you that I think even Mother Teresa would have been running on that field.) State fans have always had class, and I think Auburn and State fans have a kindred spirit because our schools are so much alike. So, with that I will say Go State! Enjoy the ride!

  37. Julie Reynolds says:

    So so happy for you Sophie, even though my tigers lost… it couldn’t have been to a better team!

  38. Oh Boomama. I was in Starkville this weekend but did not go go the game. I could n’t find a ticket that wasn’t $500, which BLOWS THE MIND. And I love it. I tailgated before and after and watched the game from the cool, dry house of my BFF.

    This post has exactly everything I’ve ever wanted to say. You put it into words that are so much more eloquent than me just saying WOW!

    I think the fact that we tasted a #1 ranking before (thanks Coach Cohen) that we now have this sweet taste in our mouths! And we want more. But we do it all the while not being obnoxious as some who have gone before us (ok maybe just a TAD obnoxious, because we can!).

    I do feel like this football team is a LOT like our 2013 baseball team. They were a cohesive group. They were selfless. They cared for their teammates. They have been through the valley and are coming out on TOP. What a story.

    I’m so glad to be a part of it!

  39. My 81 year old father-in-law was at the game and said that after all of the years of suffering that day made up for it all. He was there with his daughter, who hadn’t been back on campus since 1982. She said she will never ever forget that day for as long as she lives. And the fact that she got to share it with her daddy. That is SEC football an why it is such a big deal. It is family traditions.
    HA1L STATE!!!!

    P.S. My 17-month old grandson said his first Go DAWGS on Saturday!!! We are still working on ringing the little cowbell that was handed down to him by his uncle.. The first cowbell my son got when he was born.

  40. Number 36 is my favorite. From an MSU grad, I totally understand running all of the worst case scenarios through my head. I couldn’t get too excited when we scored 21 in the first quarter because historically, we could sometimes find a way to mess that up. This post brought a few tears to my eyes, just like the last 3 games I’ve watched have. Good gracious, it’s great to be a Mississippi State fan. :)

  41. Devonia Cochran says:

    Happy happy for you !!! ( from a VFL ) :) And glad her eye makeup still looked good — been waiting on this post !!! 😃

  42. I’ve always said State and Auburn are ‘cousin’ schools, more alike than different. My 2 older children went to State (we live in Brandon) but bleed orange and blue. It was a disappointing loss for us, but I remember ’04, ’10 and last year’s magical season. Looks like this year is State’s. Enjoy, it is a wonderful ride! War Eagle!

  43. Oh, number 36 brought tears to my eyes. So very true! This whole season is surreal, but as a longtime bulldog fan, I’m going to enjoy every minute of it! We don’t take it for granted! #hailstate

  44. I’ve followed your blog for a few years and have to admit that as I watched the end of the game on television I had a smile on my face because I thought “Boomama is gonna be so happy!” I’ve never met you, I don’t know you, but us SEC girls stick together! I’m also living vicariously through you because we are still rebuilding here on Rocky Top. So just know that the Vol Nation is rejoicing with you!! #HailState # MoreCowbell

  45. This is great and even though I am not from Mississippi I totally get it. I am a Baylor Bear after all and one of my besties also went to State and was at the game. She is so excited and I can only hope both school will continue to win and it will by MSU vs. Bayloe in the playoffs.

  46. I’m a GA Dawg. And I lived 2 years in MS not too long ago. Special place in my heart. So I’m cheering for your Dawgs, too! And here’s hoping we meet up in December in Atlanta! :)

  47. As an Auburn alum I was nauseated by Saturday’s game but it actually makes me feel a little better to see the joy that it has brought to you and many other State fans and alum. I do hope we can climb back up in the rankings and, who knows, maybe we will even get a rematch in the playoffs! War eagle always! :)

  48. I’m a little late to this party, but thanks for beating AU.

  49. Sherri Len says:

    Sophie, Can you explain what Dawg Walk is? Maybe in a future post…

  50. As a fellow Land-Grant school, our football team isn’t always a stellar performer, and it delights me to no end that your bulldogs are #1. I may have even cheered at that last interception! Go Dawgs!

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