By Emily Cochran
Day 1 : Travel
The Road To Omaha started in Oxford at 6 a.m. this morning for me. Actually, it started long before that. When I transferred to Ole Miss for my junior year I didn’t know a ton of people.
I didn’t even know my roommates at the time. When I made the choice to play juco soccer for two years instead of going straight to Ole Miss, I knew it would be a big adjustment. All my friends from home had gone to Oxford as freshmen so they had two years of Greek life, classes, and nights on the Square to make tons of new friends. I was more than a few steps behind.
I ended up getting close to one of my roommates and she had a group of friends that loved Rebel Baseball. Not only did they love Rebel Baseball, but they loved Waffle House. This group of guys got together and spray painted a plain white tent red and blue, gave it a yellow rim, and in black letters spelled “Waffle House” to set up on Saturdays in the Grove and in right field for every home series at Swayze. I knew right away I was going to like these guys. Oxford didn’t have a Waffle House and we all agreed, that needed to change.
I had also never been to an Ole Miss baseball game. I grew up tailgating in the Grove and locking the Vaught. Little did I know that right field heckling and a 100 percent chance of showers with this Waffle House crew would change my life forever.
Fast forward 5 years later. Those guys have since graduated, I’ve finished my masters in Journalism, and changed my career path from aspiring lawyer to aspiring sports reporter. I’m sitting in an airport in Denver waiting to catch my flight to Omaha and watch the Rebs take on Arkansas at 6 tonight. I have to pinch myself. I can’t believe I’m here. I can’t believe I am going to the College World Series.
The road to Omaha began at 6 a.m. this morning, but it also started many years ago with my Waffle-House-loving, tent-spray-painting, never-miss-a-home-game, friends. Even before that, the Road to Omaha began 19 years ago when my grandmother brought me to Oxford for the first time. Now here I am, a diehard Ole Miss fan, sitting in an airport in Denver, listening to the Oxford Exxon Podcast, and headed to the Men’s College World Series.
I’ve probably said that a few times, but hey, I still can’t believe it. The Waffle House crew and their tent are headed to Omaha. Hotty Toddy to that.