Being a Rebel means different things to different people, but to me, well I will see if I can do it justice. I did not take the trip many of my fellow Rebels took to becoming a long time fan, but never the less I sit here typing to you (thankfully not speaking since my voice left shortly after the evacuation of maroon) clad in a smile, red, and blue.
My earliest memories of life were set in what looked to my growing eyes to be a small utopia. It was a place not like the land that bordered it. There were no race issues, no one was poor or going hungry, there were no haves and have not’s, and in my childish innocence everyone got along. It was a peaceful and enjoyable existence. Then we moved. I was told the move was to be “closer to the other side of the family”. All I knew was I was being ripped from my utopian existence. Time went by and one day, it all seemed like a dream, and the more I thought about it the more it seemed to slip away. As I grew older and went through school in Middleofnowhere, MS, I forgot the feelings I had as a small child in my secluded piece of paradise. And though I would return to live there many years later, it would never be the same. The feelings were different. Things had changed so much over time and new feelings began to take the place of old ones. I had hoped upon moving back I would find that feeling I had once lost. But it never came back. I could not find that spark to rekindle the flame. I wrote it off and told myself that every child feels this way as you grow up. I tried to reason it away, thinking that it was a product of feeling secure and loved. I came to believe it was never a real emotion. But I was wrong. It was real.
On Saturday, November 24, 2012 in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, with eleven minutes left fourth quarter, I felt it. It washed over me like 20 mg of Valium. I could feel it growing deep inside of me. Not only within myself, but it seemed the entire stadium was succumbing to it, from the players on the sidelines, their joyful images proudly displayed on the jumbotron, to the “Feed Moncrief” song echoing in The Vaught. I looked around and saw no strangers, no faces with mental labels. No mental cues of social status. There was no reason to guard myself around them. These people were family and friends now. Everyone in eyesight was erupting in jubilant celebration. Old people were dancing and students were rushing the field to show their appreciation to the players and coaches for all of their hard work in bringing us out of the wilderness. Young children were sitting in the stands wide eyed and full of amazement. And it was at that point that I realized. All of these different groups of people that I did not know, they were all sharing an emotion with me that I thought I had lost so many years ago.
We’ve watched this team become something very special, and while doing so they have renewed hopes and dreams across the Rebel Nation. But is doesn’t stop with Hugh Freeze and his coaches. It extends to the players and their families, the fans, the strangers that are not strangers, who have touched our lives. For this, I thank you.
HOTTY TODDY my friends and Forward Rebels!<!--EndFragment-->