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The Pride of the South: Oft-Forgotten Heroes of Ole Miss Athletics

A sporting event is all about the experience. It’s more than just the game, or just the tailgate, or just the victory. Every moment culminates for a live game full of memories.

And what is one thing that can almost always trigger memories? Sounds.

IMG_5039The Pride of the South marching band was established at the University of Mississippi in 1928, and has been a staple at Ole Miss sporting events for decades, teaching children the all important fight song and entertaining the masses at halftime.

But there’s more to being in the band than meets the eye.

Much like being a student-athlete, band members give up tons of social and studying time to practice, running through sheet music and patterns almost every day. The full marching band is at the football games, nestled in the stands above the student section, and a smaller version appears above the baseline of every home basketball game.

And like an athlete, they don’t give up.

Last night, the Rebels dropped a close match with the LSU Tigers at home. Many said it was one of the most intense games in the Tad Pad of the season, with constant back-and-forth points, new leaders every few minutes after one team would have a burst of energy and change the lead.

IMG_5049From the moment the Pride of the South found their way to the section neighboring the dedicated students who refuse to sit during game action, they filled the air with familiar songs and loud chants, leading the crowd along with their friends, the Rebelettes and Ole Miss Spirit Squad.

Throughout the game, despite the questionable calls from some officials and a big LSU swing late in the first half, the band stayed focused, cheering on their fellow classmates as they fought on the hardwood for an Ole Miss victory. During halftime, the dancers and cheerleaders performed their upcoming routines for the national tournaments, and the band supported them, too.

During any Ole Miss free throw, the student section sticks their hands up in the air, a sign of respect and silence for the player trying to focus. The band joined them, with their red shakers in hand, and screamed as loud as possible during charity stripe attempts for the Tigers.

As the crowd started to filter out as a loss was unfortunately inevitable, the Pride of the South stayed true, playing one final song as the Rebels left the court for the night down but not out. Numerous coaches and athletes, both in the college arena and beyond, have said very clearly that crowd support can help a team push through to a last-minute win, and the Ole Miss band is the Rebels’ neverending push to take us to victory.

Amelia Camurati is editor-in-chief of HottyToddy.com and can be reached at amelia.camurati@hottytoddy.com.

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