We May Have Lost The Game, But WV Won The Homecoming Party
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Fall has finally arrived…in other parts of the world. Meanwhile, down here in the Southland, the late summer season is just now remembering that it’s time to pack up and head out. Late summer has essentially just been startled awake from a sofa-nap by its alarm going off and is now looking around for its shoes. But, even though the exit is a slow roll, we can still see the signs of a new season approaching – bringing with it slightly cooler mornings and a few fallen leaves blowing around. And all that prompting a strong collective human desire to make soup.
Football season is what truly marks the beginning of fall around here, and the typical extent of that for me is attending the Ole Miss games. But this past Friday night I mixed it up and attended a Blue Devils football game for the first time in years!
Since my kids only played baseball and soccer and I don’t have a daughter to be a Devil Doll (great band name, by the way), I’ve only been to a couple Water Valley football games over the years. Now that my kids’ friends are playing high school football, I have more of a reason to do the Friday night lights thing. And wow! Y’all really showed up and showed out for those Blue Devils.
Thankfully, my friends and I walked to the game because when I happened to randomly drive by the football field at 4:30 p.m. – a full three hours before the game – there was already the beginnings of a traffic jam. I knew it was homecoming so I expected a big crowd, but some of y’all were already dancing – like full-on, get-down dancing — by the side of the road in the mid-afternoon broad daylight under tents filled with barbecue smoke. The high school reunion section continued to jam hard the entire game and you could hear party music thumping away while everyone stood for the National Anthem. It was like a patriotic remix.
The players, cheerleaders and band did a great job and the homecoming court was lovely. But, the wildest action of the game was not taking place on the field. It was taking place on the small fenced-topped hill directly behind our announcer’s box and in the bleachers two rows behind me.
I’m not sure who was happier to be at the game: the hordes of elementary school kids on the back hillside in an apparent chaotic free-for-all of play that showed “Lord of the Flies” moments or the lady behind me in the stands who leads the fan cheers. She was something else! She had a cheer for every single situation. She even had a cheer for when the Blue Devils called timeouts and huddled with the coach. The cheer was a maternal-esque support of the need to “talk it out.” Her decibels levels were more than impressive and I left the game with a sympathy sore throat.
I left at halftime because I’m old now, but the various homecoming festivities continued on into the night with the teenagers outlasting us all. We may have lost the game but Water Valley certainly won the party.