Aug 29, 2013
This is why so many people love college football. It’s a physical game that sometimes borders on brutal surrounded outside the boundaries by a social fabric of reunions, barbecue and old fashioned affection for the alma mater. It’s been like this for a century. Most in this vast legion of fanatics believe there is no game like it on planet Earth, not even on the play-for-pay level where the skill levels are higher but the pomp and circumstance is often hard to come by.
This game lived up to its hype. Vanderbilt and Ole Miss got the season off to a fabulous start by treating the nation to a spectacular game – especially if you didn’t care who won. It was Rocky versus Apollo Creed for 60 minutes. The Rebels threw the last punch, breaking the hearts of many in the Operation Blackout capacity crowd but not the spirit of a gallant Commodore team.
It was Thursday, a work day on the Vanderbilt campus. Staff parking lots were full, Natchez Trace was closed at noon but it didn’t take long for football fans to start making their way toward Vandyville, some six or seven hours prior to kickoff. Things are a little different around here these days.
Temperatures topped 90 in the afternoon and the humidity felt higher. A fire broke out in a tailgate area near the stadium that required a fire crew to douse. And then everyone went inside where things really got hot.
There is a lot of passion and a lot of pride throughout our Anchored Down fan base. And why not? There are young men worth supporting on that gridiron. If anyone can help crack the code to awaken area sports fans not currently wearing black and gold to realize what they are missing, you are empowered to work your magic. That flat screen TV shows you the plays but can’t import the electricity into your living room.
It was a good night to be at a college football game. Wynonna gave the night early star-power with a rousing national anthem that ended with many in the stands singing along. There were many former Commodore players tailgating before kickoff; Bobby Johnson was a guest celebrity at one tent in Vandyville while many Vandy head coaches, including Kevin Stallings, Melanie Balcomb and Tim Corbin were there early.
The team put a Green Dot on their helmets, a symbol of the “safe campus” program that the entire athletic department will support and participate in throughout the school year.
We no longer accept moral victories so this one hurt. But men of character are never truly down; they are either up or getting up. We play again next Saturday.