Friday, June 25, 2021

Roundball Rebs Reignite Love of the Game

Move over football. Basketball has Emily Gatlin's heart bouncing.
Move over football. Basketball has Emily Gatlin’s heart bouncing.

This season’s team dribbles into casual fan’s heart

By Emily Gatlin

emilygatlin@bellsouth.net

Emily Gatlin spent four years as the manager of Reed’s Gum Tree Bookstore in Tupelo. Her frequent book reviews in the Mississippi Business Journal and her Bookseller Barbie blogs on the book trade have become well known to aficionados. Her author events at Gum Tree helped the store become a regular on the tour circuit. In 2012, she was nominated to serve on the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Board of Directors.

 

If you do a little research, you will find a substantially large gap in the history of Ole Miss basketball between 2002 and 2007. These were the years post-Provine Posse/pre-Andy Kennedy. As my sorority sister Stephanie Milo put it, “I remember going to the Tad Pad once during that time, and I think it had something to do with Rush.”

I remember using the empty Tad Pad parking lot for Sigma Chi Derby Day practice.

Packing the Tad Pad would have been an unthinkable task. Tickets were probably given away for $1 a row on StubHub.

To be perfectly honest, I have never had much interest in basketball. I played one season in fifth grade for the Goaltenders (I was tall, so my coach put me at forward. I can’t ride a bike, let alone dribble a ball), and two seasons of intramural basketball for my sorority (again, I was tall, but those girls were too serious for me). This Ole Miss team has made me love the game.

Between Murphy Holloway’s baby face and double-doubles, the human wall Reginald Buckner, Marshall Henderson’s 3-goggles (and possible Superman underpants), the greatest SEC season start in the history of the program, the record setting sellouts, countless Fatheads, and the Tad Pad’s charming leaky roof and tiny baby-sized seats, it is hard not to try to outdo your neighbor for the title of “Biggest Ole Miss Basketball Fan.”

My neighbors graduated from Mississippi State, so I don’t have that problem.

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