PREWITT: A Mississippi State football fan, raised by a couple of ‘Closet Rebels’

Published 4:00 am Sunday, October 1, 2023

Friday nights in the South are made for high school football and fall Saturdays revolve around college football. Whether gathering around a TV or radio or traveling to your favorite college team’s stadium, the love for the team and rivalry were and still are very strong in the South.

When I was a child growing up in Mississippi, I was being raised by two closet Ole Miss Rebels: my parents. I know, “Ew,” right? But around 1972 or 73, I learned that my cousin Danny Malone was playing ball for Mississippi State. When I discovered that MSU’s mascot was a dog (I am an animal-loving geek), I proclaimed that our house would forever be a Mississippi State Bulldog house.

My dad’s friend, J.C. Patton, found out about my newfound love for all things MSU and he nurtured that love. He gave me newspapers from MSU athletics, program books from past games, bumper stickers and he even gave me the tickets to my very first football game.

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I am not sure when that game was or who MSU even played, but I was hooked. I tell everyone who will listen that I have been a State fan for 50 years and counting. In those 50 years, I have seen it all — the good, the bad, the miracle field goal kicks and the time the wind blew one back. I have sat through boiling hot, freezing cold and tornadoes to watch my Dawgs play ball.

Coaches have come and gone, but this Bulldog still bleeds maroon and white. In those 50 years, I had a Basenji named Dudy Noble Polk named after Coach Ron Polk, and the house that Polk built, Dudy Noble Field at Polk-Dement Stadium. Who else would name their dog in honor of the greatest baseball coach in the history of the game? And of course, my family and I are a family of Cowbell ringers, and even my Southern Miss graduate son has his own “SMTTT” custom cowbell.

What happened to those closet Rebels who raised me? They complied and shouted Hail State until the day they went to Heaven. I wish they could have been here to witness when MSU football made it to No. 1, and I hated that they didn’t see it when Morgan Williams hit that miracle shot to shut down UConn during March Madness — not to mention watching the Diamond Dawgs win that Natty. They loved me enough to convert, I guess you could say, and I miss talking about MSU sports with them.

The SEC has a saying, “It just means more.”

It does, especially for me. Not only am I a 50-year fan of sports at MSU, but I am also an alumnus. And despite the naysayers, we at MSU are a family. We win together, we lose together and we are still mourning The Pirate Mike Leech together. We even support the Dallas Cowboys just because Dak Prescott is there. If that isn’t loyalty to the MSU family, I don’t know what is.

So, Go Dawgs, and give the ball to Tuluu.