Via: Marvin Gentry-US PRESSWIRE
This is simply the most astounding development of the weekend. Below is a gif of an hour and a half to an hour before the game.
That's right. Your eyes aren't playing tricks on you. The student section was entirely full an hour before kickoff. It was half way full immediately upon the opening of the gates. But that's not the reason I'm applauding the students today. That alone wouldn't get me to take time from my schedule to write something on this here blog.
The reason I'm typing this is because of the unbelievable shift in our student section. Two years ago, our students were quite possibly the most embarrassing thing at Ole Miss. No, I'm not talking about my username or his replacement. I'm talking about the chant that subsequently got "From Dixie with Love" banned after the game. Our students were obnoxiously loud in chanting and promoting racism. It was embarrassing. It was worsened by those in our fanbase that supported them by cheered them on. It made national headlines and sparked endless debate online. It perpetuated stereotypes that Ole Miss has been fighting for decades. But on Saturday night, our student section was by far the one thing in the stadium of which I was the most proud.
The reason: the student section sang back up to God Bless America and the Star-Spangled Banner. I say sang backup only because they weren't given a microphone or announced as the performers over the PA. The student section's rendition was echoing off the stadium louder than the performer's voices at the center of the field. Both performers of the songs were obviously rattled by it. They clearly weren't expecting to not be able to hear their own voices. Miss America had a tremor in her voice from boom of the student section's sound. I know that once the students started, the rest of the stadium joined in with them. I know that Texas fans were impressed. I know it left them with a perception of something different than their preconceived notions. I know it gave me chill bumps at the end of God Bless America, when the student section held the long notes with the soldier singing on the field. I've never been the guy who yelled and screamed after the National Anthem. On Saturday, I was the loudest.
I don't know whose idea it was. I don't know if it was planned. What I do know is that I want it to happen again. I want our student section to be known for bellowing God Bless America before every football game, basketball game and baseball game. I want it to be known that they sing the Star-Spangled Banner with gusto. I want it known that the entire student section did it too. Not just the drunk idiots that don't know any better, who chant b/c they think they're supposed to do it. I want it known that our entire student section sings at the top of their lungs when our National Anthem is played. I want it to make national headlines. I want it talked about just as much as the embarrassment was talked about two years ago. I want this to be the tradition we're known for.
After it happened in the stadium, I turned to my friend and said "They're so much better than we ever were". We then relived the coolest rendition of the National Anthem that we'd ever witnessed. This past New Years, we went to the UK/Louisville B-Ball game in Rupp, and the thing I remember the most from the experience was the National Anthem. It was chill-bump inducing. Before the game, the Dean of the Music department is announced as the performer. He steps up to the mic and begins the Star-Spangled banner while waving his arms dramatically in rhythm in an effort to conduct the crowd. The crowd begins to sing along with him, keeping the tune with the dean's direction and voice. And then four lines in, the dean backs away from the microphone. The crowd picks up their collective voice and thunders the rest of the song at the dean's conduction, holding the notes for as long as directed at the end. Easily one of the coolest experiences of my life. I was at a basketball game that turned out to be the National Championship game, and all I can tell you about the game right now is how awesome the National Anthem was. I want this for Ole Miss. I want this to be what random guy in the stands takes away from our home games. I want this to be the experience at games we can all look back on with pride, regardless of the outcome. I want this to be one of the tools that changes people's perception about Ole Miss. This has the potential to become something great. It's an opportunity to make something special by doing something easy and simple. Let's capitalize on this opportunity. Join in with the students next home game.
This is what I'm talking about:
'Merica. God Bless it.