Win or lose, always hail State
Published: Monday, October 29, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 29, 2012 20:10
When I came to Mississippi State, I didn’t quite understand football. (And, by that, I mean I didn’t realize the offense and defense were separate entities and, on occasion, mistook college football for the NFL. You don’t have to tell me, I understand how pathetic that truly is.)
Then, throughout two years as a student and Reflector staff member, I began to not only understand the nuances of a football game, but also why our football team matters to us.
As I read and participated and interviewed and edited, I came to realize our football team — and the coaches and the athletic department — believe in the team’s potential and working to be better. Naysayers may criticize dreaming of the Bulldogs winning the SEC West or find the idea we believed we could beat Alabama laughable. I find it inspiring.
From the local businesses to the student organizations to alumni, the people who participated in the We Believe: 8-0 movement did so in support of a team that believes in itself, its coaches and its fans.
And, even though the scoreboard clearly didn’t go the way we desired, it doesn’t mean we still don’t have faith in this team or each other.
I’m no sports analyst, but there’s no shame in losing to the number one team in the nation. And it’s a compliment to Dan Mullen and his program that every year since he became head coach, expectations for the Bulldogs have risen and we’ve consistently improved. Not all of the SEC West teams can say that.
Football, like all sports, isn’t just about winning. Sports are mirrors of life. They’re a microcosm of the world around us. And for our team to believe in itself, to work hard, to strive to be better — that positively reflects our town and our university.
Until I came to MSU, I was a pessimist. (To some degree, I still am.) But everyone here believes in something greater than themselves — they believe in a community.
And, since I’ve arrived here in the fall of 2009, community has been what I have experienced on a day-to-day basis.
I’ve seen professors dedicate themselves to an individual student in order to better his or her future — even if it requires extra hours and no additional incentives for the professor. I’ve seen local businesses come out in droves to support student organizations and charity events.
I’ve seen true friendship between students. And through all this, I’ve learned what it is to be part of the Bulldog family.
The world, despite what it may appear at times, isn’t a terrible place.
And it’s places like MSU, places that exhibit faith, hope and optimism, that illustrate the good. The support for We Believe, which spread across the United States and the globe, shows beyond our years physically here, there’s something worth holding onto after we leave.
To me, believing isn’t about winning. (Of course, we can still go 11-1. I really think that is possible. But if we don’t, it won’t make me lose hope in our program or love the Bulldogs any less.) It’s about more than a game or a season. It’s our convictions.
It’s what makes our fan base True Maroon. We do things together; we need each other. I believe that losing to Alabama won’t dim fan support for our team. I believe when football season is over, no matter what the record shows, we’ll still be anticipating next season, expecting better things. I believe that, beyond football, we all come together and support each other because we’re Bulldogs and that’s what we do.
And, win or lose, I will always hail State.
And, as long as I’m here and beyond, I will do my best to give back to my university for all it has given me in the classroom and out. Because State has given me the courage to hope for a better future and to take the gifts given to me here and help build it. And that’s why I believe.