This is a sensitive issue, I’m quite aware. Native Ole Miss students are hypersensitive to out-of-state students who have not been lifelong Ole Miss fans and have allegiances to more than one football team.
I, having grown up in New Orleans to an LSU alum, hold dual fandom and have been called a traitor for even suggesting that I like LSU.
Please refrain from tweeting me things about corndogs; I don’t understand that comment and I fear I never will.
Facebook drama has been simply overflowing in the last week because Texas fans have been more vocal about their dual identities. They’ve been told that they should either root for Ole Miss because that’s where they go or that they should have done better in high school so that they could have gone to Texas schools.
That’s really quite a silly thing to say because it not only belittles the academic record of our fine institution, but it precludes the possibility that some people actually chose Ole Miss because they liked it better.
You can love a football team and not want to attend that school. I grew up bleeding purple and gold, but I never considered going to school at LSU. It wasn’t even on my radar. In fact, the only school I visited or applied to was Ole Miss, and I knew immediately that this is where I wanted to spend the next four to six years of my life.
But that doesn’t mean I was ready to burn my Tigers jersey. It also doesn’t mean I wasn’t jumping out of my skin to get to Oxford, get some Grove dresses and cheer on my Rebs.
This sort of thing happens all the time at this school because every year, there is a mass exodus of recent high school graduates from Texas, Georgia and Alabama to Oxford, Miss. People are always going to come in here with strong familial and locality-based football loyalties, and most won’t be willing to shed them at the drop of a hat.
We are the South; we don’t take football lightly. But that doesn’t mean they’re not willing to put the same passion and love into their new school and its football team.
Those of you who were lucky enough to grow up as Rebel fans should feel good about the fact that there are so many people who are willing to go so far away from home to come to this school and become Rebel fans. People who want to sing “Sweet Caroline” at the baseball games and run around the Grove in the dark on Friday nights in order to get a spot for the next day. It’s a compliment to Ole Miss and what a wonderful place this really is.
When my two favorite teams come together every year, I am the most excited, ecstatic person you’ll find on campus. Not because I’m holding onto my lifetime loyalties and hoping for an LSU shutout, or because I’m ready to see my Rebels ream the Tigers, but because I know I’m going to win no matter how the game ends up.
I get to laugh at Ole Miss tents with corndogs hanging all over them alongside LSU tents making jokes about Louisiana Black Bears. I get to see my two favorite teams play a great game of football, and that’s what the whole game is about.
I don’t have to choose someone I want to win because I’m not rooting for anyone; I’m cheering for everyone.
Alexandra Williamson is a senior accountancy major from Frisco, Texas. Follow her on Twitter @alyxwi.
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