This one goes out to the SEC lovers out there. Recently, my alma mater, Mississippi State University, hosted the famous ESPN College GameDay for the first time in school history – a moment I was excited to experience firsthand. After winning the game against the Auburn Tigers, Mississippi State was ranked No. 1 atop the Associated Press and coaches polls – a title we’ve held for weeks now. Since then, the state of Mississippi, and much of the southeast, has been in a perpetual state of celebration. While I love my school dearly and am thrilled that we were ranked first nationally for the first time in school history, the behavior exhibited during and after this colossal game has been far from what I’ve come to expect as a Bulldog.
The Thursday prior to the Auburn game, a crowd of students and fans gathered in front of the student union to celebrate and welcome the arrival of the College GameDay bus to Starkville. The morning of the game, a sea of maroon, white, navy blue and burnt orange swarmed the Junction. While tailgating amidst this sea of college spirit, I encountered a few tacky comments here and there, but Auburn fans were still able to hear the customary “welcome to Starkville” somewhat regularly.
However, after the game started and it appeared that the Dawgs actually had a shot at winning, MSU fans seemed to get a bit too big for their britches. Cups flew through the air after every touchdown, cowbells were rung at a deafening sound level throughout the entire game – despite our restrictions on when we can ring – and certain finger gestures were displayed more frequently than I have ever seen at Davis Wade stadium. And even though I cheered for MSU and sported my full maroon attire, a State fan stole my cowbell because I was seated next to my boyfriend and two close friends who were all Auburn fans.
Since then, Bulldog fever has swept the nation (see image of supporters in Las Vegas below), along with fans raging in excitement and bashing other schools via social media. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I have no school spirit or think Dak Prescott shouldn’t win the Heisman trophy – I am more than proud to share in the excitement as we make history. The only point I’m trying to make is that sometimes when an underdog finally gains attention and consistent media exposure locally and nationally, some supporters can easily let excitement get the best of them. So, whether your underdog is a college football team, small nonprofit or huge corporation, try your hardest to keep the attention from going to your head. Don’t forget where you’ve come from and remain tastefully optimistic. If nothing else, remember what your parents always taught you – treat others as you’d wish to be treated. After all, fate has a funny way of letting what goes around come around when you’re least expecting it. Keep CALM and Hail State!