This is difficult. Being an Ole Miss fan is difficult. We all got our hopes up; even those predicting modest success this year let themselves dream about Atlanta. When I write these reports, win or lose, I'm frequently analytical, sometimes jubilant or angry, but mainly just anticipating the next game, talking about who's improved and what we need to try to do better. This week, I have a hard time doing that. I'm sure we all did something to calm ourselves down after the game this weekend, and while I'll get back to football in a bit, here's what I did.
As some of you know, this Whiskey Wednesday moniker of mine is, as far as my actual writing style and normal personality goes, a bit of an act. But WW does exist, and I knew that if I were to enjoy this game from my slot in the sardine can that the student section often resembles, WW was going to have to make an early appearance. So I drank quite a bit; an amount totally unbecoming of a 24 year-old. But I was pleasantly rowdy, no longer nervous, and ready to go to the game. I tottered over to the stadium, stood up and yelled for the defense, and generally acted like a good Rebel. When Jevan threw his third interception of the night, I nonchalantly hopped off the bleachers and walked, calmly, back to the Grove. I met JUCO there, and we drank some more. I thought he was keeping pace with me, but I was mistaken. We talked somberly, calmly, about the future of the team, where we go from here, how to approach such a letdown. We didn't reach any satisfying conclusions.
I came to, and I was watching LSU and Florida on the couch at Ghost's brother's apartment. I wasn't sure how I got there, and someone had pulled a trash can within projectile distance of my head. I ran my tongue around in my mouth; no vomit aftertaste, thankfully, so the garbage can was only precautionary. I found my phone, along with a broken pom-pom handle, in my pocket. I checked the call log and inbox, and it appeared as though I hadn't embarrassed myself with my wireless device. I've performed this post-blackout checklist before, but it's been awhile. I seems as if my calm post-game demeanor carried over into my drunken cruise control. If I offended anyone in this three hour period, I haven't heard about it yet. I rolled over and tried to sleep. I woke up only two hours later, with a pulsing headache, and the sort of dehydration that makes your skin cling to your ribs. I was cold. I trudged into the kitchen, downed some water, found a blanket, and went back to sleep. I drunkenly marveled at the propensity of man to perpetually improve his condition. Three or four hours later, the sun was up. I stretched the crick out of my neck, rubbed my still-pounding head, and surveyed the room, where I noticed Ghost passed out in similar fashion on an adjacent couch. He hadn't found a blanket. He stirred slightly as I was reloading my pockets and tying my shoes. "How did we get here?" I croaked. I cleared my throat, and attempted to speak again, more successfully this time.
"I dunno," Ghost mumbled, and turned over. I left. The walk back to my apartment at 7AM was refreshing, placid. I was glad I had my jacket as I walked through the grass, leaving footprints in the dew to mark my progress. My hands were stuffed in my pockets, and I winced as each car flew by. Being upright and hydrated made my headache subside, each throb less painful than the one before. Twenty minutes later, I was home, the symptoms of my hangover having generally subsided. This was better than I deserved.
I spent the morning saying goodbyes to friends, eating tacos from the Tacqueria, and perusing the NFL pregame shows. Later, I went to do the only thing proven to make me feel better about Ole Miss football; I played Ultimate frisbee. The air was crisp enough to chill the sweat clinging to my clothes, but the sun made up for the cool. I ran the rest of the alcohol out of my system, the pleasant burn of a full sprint serving the same function as coffee and Huddle House would for other Saturday night revelers. On one defensive play, I caught the thrower's eyes from ten yards away as he prepared to launch a deep throw. I left my man and sprinted towards the endzone, my angle allowing me to gain ground on the two larger men who were about to battle for the plastic disc that lingered over our heads. I was the first to jump, and managed the kind of leap that surprised even myself. An inch or two from deflecting the pass, I realized my legs had been knocked out from under me. I felt the sinking feeling in my stomach as I feel from several feet up, directly onto my back. The air vacated my lungs, and I lay in the dirt for a minute or so, writhing around. My teammates commented on my unique ability to hurt myself in hilarious ways. My ass has a giant bruise on it. It was still a great day.
I went home, took a nap, made myself dinner, and drank the lone Blue Moon in my fridge. I say all of that to say this: I love football, especially the Ole Miss variety, and this weekend was tough. This year may have been our best chance to make some waves for a while, and it isn't looking likely anymore. We could have a miraculous turnaround, or we could continue to flounder. Either way, don't let it kill you. Do those things you need to do on Sunday that help prevent you from fretting over Saturday. Sure, I still have my opinions about the team, what we need to do to help ourselves... I'll still be excited for the remaining games. I haven't discovered a way to make myself ambivalent to an Ole Miss game yet. But if we lose to UAB, or Auburn or Tennessee, then just let it go. Eat some tacos, take a walk, throw a frisbee.