Published on September 12th, 2014 | by Red Cup Rebellion0
Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is; Fill The Vaught
It is finally here. After two weeks of watching them win convincingly on neutral fields, Ole Miss fans get to welcome their Rebels team back to the confines of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. On Saturday afternoon, the first home football game of the Rebel season will kick off against the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns, meaning that our favorite sport and all of its necessary accoutrements—you know, Grove tents and bourbon drinks and whatnot—is back where we know how to best treat it.
With the Rebels being ranked as high as No. 14 in the polls, and with a team headlined by all-SEC stars like Bo Wallace, Cody Prewitt, and Robert Nkemdiche, it is clear that fan enthusiasm will be running high and that the weekend in Oxford will be well attended.
Let’s just hope we can say the same for the game as well.
We all know how these opening weekends against non-SEC teams play out. Whether it is on the Square, along Fraternity Row, or in the Grove, I have nary a doubt in my mind that the Rebel faithful will concern themselves heavily with winning the party. People will most definitely attend the game as well, but no one with any significant experience as an Ole Miss fan would expect a full crowd at kickoff or after a sizable Rebel lead is secured at halftime. And even though season tickets have sold out for this year, the remaining tickets allotted for visiting fans, sponsors, and other non-season ticket holders will not all likely be used.
Personally, this is not something that bothers me or most of us as fans. While I would like for there to be a raucous home crowd to welcome the football team back from two weeks on the road, I’m not one to get too bothered by how other individuals spend their time and money. I am, however, one to point out when people want to have their cake and eat it too, something that is far too common with an Ole Miss fanbase that wants the nice things other SEC powers have while conveniently ignoring the costs of said things.
This past Summer, with ground broken on the Tad Pad’s replacement—the Pavilion at Ole Miss —plans were unveiled to gussy up the south end zone area of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium by adding new boxes in time for the 2015 season. The plans to (crudely) bowl in the north end zone, which were first sold to Rebel fans back in 2012, are seemingly on hold for a while, as is any plan to add any sort of additional amenities on that end of the field.
Some of us Ole Miss fans have voiced displeasure over this. They want a bowled in stadium, one that is not neck-a-neck with Mississippi State’s and Missouri’s in terms of capacity. They want it to be state of the art, with buttons, whistles, gourmet concessions, a full spread, the works, everything. They want it to be loud and intimidating, to have an atmosphere that could rival Kyle Field or Tiger Stadium.
But few of us actually want to do what it takes to have those things. If you want a nice, large, loud stadium, then you have to pay for it and actively participate in the stadium’s overall experience. You cannot simply will this into existence and not incur any sort of costs—and this argument goes for baseball fans who did not appreciate the traffic that clogged Old Taylor while Swayze Field was being expanded and basketball fans who do not like the higher season ticket prices used to cover the construction of our newest arena.
It’s time for Ole Miss fans to put their money where their mouths are. We have a great game day atmosphere to celebrate Ole Miss Football, with one of America’s best college towns playing host to one of the world’s greatest tailgating traditions. Let’s show that we can create an in-stadium environment to match. This Saturday, after the Rebs march down the Walk of Champions and towards Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, follow them. Get to your seats and fill the stadium before kickoff. Be obnoxious, loud, fun, silly, and spirited until the final whistle blows. Then head back to the Grove for a celebratory cocktail. If you all can do that while the Rebel football team continues to win games and attract new fans, then it will be a matter of time before the demand for a vastly updated football stadium will justify it being supplied.
Read more Red Cup Rebellion at http://www.RedCupRebellion.com and follow RCR on Twitter at @RedCupRebellion
This article was originally printed in The Local Voice #212 (published September 11, 2014).
To download the PDF of this issue, click here.