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Ole Miss Families Hope to Begin a New Tradition for Football Fans

Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications
Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

Ole Miss has many traditions, some old like the Walk of Champions and some newer like the Landshark. Today, Ole Miss fans, Melanie Dowell and Dawn Thurley wants to add a new tradition to the home games in Oxford.

This new tradition is named “The 1st 5 – Laying a Foundation.”

“The idea is to allow us to pray for all the players and coaches in the first five minutes of the team’s game prep,” Dowell said. “The first five books of the Bible laid the foundation for what was to come. Let’s use the first five minutes of game time to lay the foundation of true sportsmanship.”

(from left) Rod Thurley, Hunter Thurley and Dawn Stoltz Thurley, courtesy
(from left) Rod Thurley, Hunter Thurley and Dawn Stoltz Thurley, courtesy

Dowell got the idea from seeing Dawn Thurley and her family pray for the team prior to the game versus New Mexico State. Thurley said, “She told me how special and moving it was to see (us) doing for that for the team. We exchanged contact information and wanted to do this as a group for the last home game of the season.”

Thurley has a son, Hunter Thurley, who is a junior tight end for the Ole Miss Rebels. Her family have joined other Ole Miss families in a tradition of praying before the football players set foot on the Walk of Champions. Thurley said, “I started a prayer group with all the Ole Miss player families. We are up to over 30 parents and family members. Without all of them, we would not be having this wonderful movement.”

For the LSU game, Thurley and Dowell hope some Ole Miss fans will join them in praying for the football team, coaches and many others. They also plan on doing this for the Egg Bowl this year too.

“People who want to pray with us can fall in behind the last member of the team walking down the Walk of Champions to the field house where we will pray,” Thurley said. “We will pray for one minute and then say the Lord’s Prayer and leave. Before we pray, I will open us up with a few words and thank people for coming.”

Graphic courtesy of Facebook
Graphic courtesy of Facebook

In observance of this prayer movement, the Ole Miss fans may meet at the Coach John Vaught statue after following the Ole Miss Rebels down the Walk of Champions. A horn will sound to begin the prayers. Once the prayer requests are heard, there will be a moment of silence before the second horn sounds. Then the fans can say the Lord’s Prayer and then disperse.

Thurley hopes the prayer will give players, coaches and staff a possible victory on field, but more importantly that they come to know Christ. She said, “This is wonderful to see what God has planned here. It’s wonderful that God put my family prayer group together, and it was a blessing that Melanie (met us).”

Dowell said, “Join us as we return to putting first things first! Hotty Toddy!”

To keep informed of further announcements, find The 1st 5 – Laying a Foundation on Facebook.


Callie Daniels Bryant is the senior managing editor for HottyToddy.com. She can be reached at callie.daniels@hottytoddy.com.

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