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Ole Miss, Gameday From The Eyes of a Freshman

Freshman Cassidy Turnage
Freshman Cassidy Turnage

Fond of Ole Miss growing up, freshman Cassidy Turnage is now living her dream.

Cassidy Turnage – Oxford, MS

Ever since I was a little girl, I knew that Ole Miss would be the place for me one day. When I was younger it was always a special treat to come to Oxford, MS for Ole Miss football games. All of my friends would travel from Jackson, MS with their families to see the Rebels play, for most every home game. However, my family had no affiliation with Ole Miss growing up.

However, that’s all changed this fall. I’ve only been an Ole Miss freshman for about a month and my parents have already come to town twice and have actually joined a tent group with their closest friends. It’s exciting and I love that my whole family is getting involved at Ole Miss. While a lot has changed since I first started coming to Oxford, it’s all still as great as it was growing up, now it’s even better. Even when the Rebels don’t win, the atmosphere and the spirit of Rebel fans is electric. “This football season has been awesome. The Rebs are on the rise. There is nothing better in life than waking up on a Saturday and knowing it’s game day,” said Ole Miss freshman Cossar Morgan. In fact, he has been attending Rebel games before he could even speak. The Ole Miss family is definitely one thing that helps contribute to the success of the team.

The genuine family feel really says a lot about The University of Mississippi. The fact that the football team is having as much success as it is right now, just adds to the excitement. The class of 2017 is extremely fortunate to enter Ole Miss at such an exciting time for our program. Everywhere you go, people are shouting Hotty Toddy, no matter what the circumstance.

During the annual freshman Rebel Run, participants waited to run in the hot sun, cramped on top of each other. However, the freshmen were pumped, singing, and ready to run across the field. Rebel Run is a memory I believe the class of 2017 will remember for years to come. It’s special that the freshman class had the opportunity to run across the field of Vaught-Hemmingway Stadium as a group. It’s hard to believe the Rebels are 3-0 for the first time since 1989. The atmosphere surrounding Ole Miss football games is a lot fun and to win just adds to the excitement of being a freshman.

When I was younger, the game day experience was much different. I rarely went to the actual games, but instead mostly just tailgated at friends’ tents in the Grove. Now, as an official part of Ole Miss, I have become excited about football itself. For the first game against Vanderbilt, I was not fortunate enough to get to make the trip to Nashville; though watching the game on campus was just as great. When Ole Miss running back Jeff Scott scored the winning touchdown, freshmen across campus became ecstatic. The victories this season have been amazing, especially considering this is only Head Coach Hugh Freeze’s second season at Ole Miss. The freshman class is in for a real treat over the next four years.

I’m sure that great fan support really pumps the team up and makes them eager to win more games. During the home opener against SEMO, I got to experience what it’s like to be a college student on the Ole Miss campus on gameday. On that Saturday, fellow freshman and I spent the whole day going to different friend’s tents, new and old.

It was truly an amazing experience. I loved getting to meet fellow freshman friends’ families and the food was amazing (as always). To cap it off, the Rebels won. The Grove is unlike any place I have ever been. Before the first home game, all of my friends from other parts of the country, who had never experienced The Grove, kept expressing how different the Oxford gameday experience is (tailgating-wise) than where they’re from.

It’s not just sports that draw people from all over the country to Oxford. In fact, many people come and never leave. The town always has different festivals and concerts. Each and every restaurant is “the best meal you’ll ever eat.” The people of Oxford go above and beyond in everything they do. It’s the quaintness of the town and the good-hearted people who live here. It’s the Hotty Toddy chant, “Feed Moncrief” song, and “Fins Up” land shark theme. Having only been a freshman for less than a month, it’s already amazing to be a part of this wonderful place. The feeling of being an Ole Miss student is unlike anything I have ever been a part of in the past.

Ever since I arrived on campus, I have gotten involved with as many activities as my schedule allows. Life as an Ole Miss freshman is nonstop and on the go, all the time, but I’ve loved every minute of it. As the Rebels prepare to take on No. 1 Alabama Saturday night, excitement is beginning to reach a fever pitch. While I won’t be traveling to Tuscaloosa, there will be plenty of freshmen heading to the big game. The class of 2017 will be well represented.

The Rebel fan base is outstanding. For those not traveling to Alabama, restaurants and bars around Oxford will make every fan feel as if he or she is right there themselves. As for now, I’m thrilled with the success of our football team, am enjoying being part of the freshman class and look forward to what the next four years hold.

As Rebel freshman Elizabeth Pyron said, “Coming to Oxford for Rebel football games is a tradition my grandparents started and I’m so glad that I get the chance to experience what they did. The atmosphere is great!” People of all ages come together to love everything about Ole Miss. The entire Class of 2017 is looking forward to a great four years behind Freeze. I know I’m excited to start traditions of my own and I’m already looking forward to when the Rebels come home to play Texas A&M on October 12.

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