Don’t blame only the rain for foul spirit

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 18, 2009

I thought, perhaps, the recent weather pattern was responsible for my grumpy behavior of late. Days that look more like Portland, Ore., than Mississippi have ruined the first half of October.

More than 9 inches of rain have fallen in the 18 days this month. The sun finally came out on Friday, setting off a citywide scare of a bright yellow UFO high in the sky.

Sean P. Murphy is Web editor. He can be reached at

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On Saturday, though, I realized the mood had nothing to do with the foul weather. Gray, gloomy, cold and rainy days are good for some things — keeping the grass green and making for a perfect Sunday of football.

What’s wrong with football? The Saints are 4-0, the Mannings are a combined 10-0 and Brett Favre has the Minnesota Vikings at 5-0.

Then I tuned into the great Jack Cristil as he called the Mississippi State-Middle Tennessee State football game while I drove the 20 miles to work Saturday afternoon.

In the lexicon of sports announcers there are the great ones, the good ones, the tolerable ones and Tim McCarver. Jack Cristil has been among the great ones for years. The gravel-voiced Mississippi State University sports legend has been describing MSU football for 57 years. He has seen the great teams, the good ones, the tolerable ones and the recent ones.

Cristil has the ability to not really let the listener know whose winning and losing by his calls. He didn’t seem to be too biased — any announcer who calls for one team for so long has some bias in him — and always called the game on the level.

Listening to him on that drive, though, was listening to a different Cristil. He sounded like I felt — grumpy. The Bulldogs were winning the game by two touchdowns even though they should have been winning by five. Cristil talked of a horrible play call that led to a miserable pitch that only the running back could fall on.

MSU remains a long way away from being relevant again. Ole Miss, before Saturday’s win over UAB, was coming off a bad offensive showing in a loss to Alabama, and Southern Miss, coming into Saturday, had lost three straight. Alcorn, Jackson State and Mississippi Valley aren’t burning up the rankings, and even Delta State lost Thursday.

The lousy weather of the past three weeks mirrors what football-loving fanatics in this state have been feeling like all year.

I could tell by listening to Jack Cristil that things aren’t right in Mississippi four weeks into autumn.

The misery of another summer should be gone.

The sun should be shining.

And we should have winning football.

I would give up the first two for that last one. I bet Jack Cristil would, too.