My division of the year into two seasons – College Football Season and The Rest of the Year – began as a tradition with my father when we lived ten miles north of Ole Miss. He taught me to follow the game on the radio and loved having a Saturday afternoon companion to cheer on the Rebels. Having a brother-in-law who was the university’s Alumni Director for many years and graduating from that fine institution has added to my fervor. I’ve rooted for them through good years, bad years, and two rounds of Mannings.
A different team and a third generation of college football enthusiasts was added during our nine year stay at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. Just up the road in Waco, Baylor University played during the Grant Teaff years, and we believed. Contributing a chunk of my salary later – for eight years – as two sons got degrees at Baylor added considerably to my fervor for their Bears. Our family cheered “Sic ‘em, Bears” as we watched together.
Now you might think I would have to choose a favorite here. That has happened only once in history. In 1975, Ole Miss and Baylor played each other in Waco. My brother-in-law got us tickets in the Ole Miss Alumni section to bring our oldest son to the game and gave him a warning that he had to give “Hotty Toddy” cheers for Ole Miss. Murray was relieved when the president of the Alumni Association gave his uncle a stern look and said, “Son, you cheer for whoever you want to.” Murray sicced those bears and tried not to overdo his gloat when Baylor won.
[In an aside, just in case you are wondering what “Hotty Toddy” means, according to the website, it means nothing and everything. Go figure. Eli Manning is quoted as saying it just means you’re an Ole Miss fan. I think that’s about it.]
My season began last night with Ole Miss vs. Boise State. Thank goodness they didn’t play on that garish Boise State blue field. The first half wasn’t pretty, but I’ll take the 35-13 win.
Sunday night the tradition takes in a fourth generation. Son #1 plans to be back in Waco at the christening of the new Baylor stadium with his son. Son #2 will make traditional football dip to eat with tortilla chips while watching at home with his son. I’m claiming a virtual game-watching presence with both sons and grandsons as I make my own dip to share and watch with Al.
The Rest of the Year is over. College Football Season is underway.
Hotty Toddy! Sic ‘em, Bears!