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Saturday night my wife said she was giving up sports for the season -- watching, that is, not playing. We were sitting in the stadium in Oxford, and after a quick touchdown, Ole Miss had fallen hopelessly behind.
We hadn’t expected Ole Miss to win, but during the first half, it had been a decent game. And fueled by hot dogs, popcorn and funnel cake, we were enjoying ourselves.
Neither Jenny nor I went to Ole Miss, but we support whichever college team is near our home because going to the game is a fun thing to do. We don’t even tailgate; we just enjoy the games.
By the end of the third quarter, though, the game was not a game. We were feeling sorry for our players and their coaches.
But that is not what had Jenny in a real funk. No, the scoreboard was showing scores from other games, and her beloved Clemson Tigers had fallen behind Maryland, 28-10.
Although she has degrees in sociology and journalism from the University of Kentucky, Jenny had gone back to school at Clemson to become a teacher while we were living in South Carolina. We went to all the games and became diehard Clemson fans.
This year Clemson had won six games in a row, including beating Auburn, Florida State and Virginia Tech, all nationally ranked teams. But now they were losing to a team they were expected to beat.
“I think I’m done with sports this season,” she announced, as we made our way to the car.
Jenny takes her sports and her teams seriously. In addition to college teams, she is passionate about professional teams, especially those in Philadelphia, where she lived for nearly 20 years.
The football Eagles, billed by some as a “dream” team, have played terribly and lost several games. (She would know how many, but I don’t think I’ll ask.)
And her baseball Phillies, the odds-on favorites to win the World Series, had lost out to the St. Louis Cardinals in the first round of playoffs.
It had been a boo-hoo week. And now Clemson was way behind in the third quarter.
“All my teams are losing,” she said. “I don’t have anyone left to care about.”
Well, not quite. By the time we had driven home and turned on the television, Clemson was mounting a furious rally. The Tigers went on to beat the Terrapins, 56 to 45.
Early Sunday morning, Jenny pulled on her Clemson sweatshirt and went out to take our beagle for a walk.
Things are looking up. Maybe Ole Miss will upset Arkansas Saturday.
And we’ve got decisions to make – hot dogs or barbecue nachos. Or maybe a pretzel.
T. Wayne Mitchell, publisher of the Gazette, can be reached by phone at 662-534-6321 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org