Friday, August 7, 2009

August Insight from our Editors

Whether or not we have or have had children headed back to school at the end of summer break, we all were for many years headed back to school ourselves about this time of the year. Many of us still may be headed that way as teachers and continuing education students. Thus, from these circumstances, individually or collectively, we know the anticipation, the quickening pace, and the bit of anxiety over the possibility of daunting coursework or lessons to be learned.

In addition to these classroom-related emotions, however, is the thrill that begins to escalate in us all, that is, in all of us with any pigskin potency whatsoever flowing in our veins, as the magic of football season casts its spell here in the South. From pee-wee wrangling and junior high and high school skirmishes to college clashes and professional combat, we who create the spirit of the season and follow its hype feel the temperatures rising—it’s football fever time!

So much of this fever rests on the power of traditions as they emanate from our families, friends, and schools. For decades in most cases and nearly centuries in some, these traditions fervently flow from generation to generation, expanding and deepening in their significance. And while so much fun, entertainment, and festivity accompany these traditions, so does an engrained seriousness. We joke about rivalries—but we are not kidding. We recall and recap with raised eyebrows and a bit of glimmer in our eyes those most un-judicious judgment calls against our teams, perhaps forgiving inept officials—but we never forget. We complain about our team’s weaknesses and errors with those of like loyalties—but take major offense when this criticism comes from those with deviant allegiances.

The intensity of such football fervor actually begins on the pee-wee level although we keep it in tow, really wanting everyone to play, really wanting everyone to do well, really wanting the games to be positive experiences about competition, and naturally wanting our children and their teams to achieve success. At the junior high level, though, the fervor grows, and by high school it becomes a virtual fever that in college escalates to epidemic proportions of fan-based preparation, celebration, and braggadocio.

Renowned for such escalated excitement are SEC football and SEC football fans and, actually, football teams and fans in the South at large. Which of these teams and its fans pushes the temperature highest—is a question with resounding affirmations from all sides! One team with its fans definitely in the running are the Ole Miss Rebels who have an undeniably affluent heritage of football lore and legacy, an avid and fanatic fan base, and a generations-rich tailgating tradition. Our feature articles this month explore this hotty-toddy hype that fuels Rebel mania.

Also for your reference this month as multitudes head back to school and so many of us begin to finalize our football season weekend, road-trip, and tailgating plans, we have included football schedules for area high schools and colleges, and for the New Orleans Saints. Such preparations, of course, are just the first symptoms of the approaching fever of Southern football mania. Once you’ve caught it, immunity is out of the question, and the only treatment lies in continued exposure. Yes, the mania, the fever, the fervor are contagious and habit forming—and, in our lives along and beyond the Mississippi, we applaud the addiction!

- Cheryl & Jean

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