You know, I just hate it when people carp and complain and criticize without offering any suggestions on remedying the problem at hand.
Therefore, I’m going to continue the discussion I started the other day regarding Ole Miss’s mascot, or more correctly, the absence of a mascot.
Here are my suggestions to waylay the death of my beloved alma mater:
- Bring back Colonel Reb. I’m NOT talking about that cartoony caricature of a colonel that was used most recently. I’m talking about a real, live Colonel Reb. A male student with some athletic ability who can rally crowds with lots of spirit, somebody with class and dignity who can represent this University wherever its athletic teams go. I’m talking about someone who can liaison between the cheerleaders, the band, the students, and the alumni. And I don’t care whether this person is white, black, pink, or green — he should bleed “red and blue”!
- Colonel Reb’s attire. Cheerleader-type slacks, perhaps in gray with gold stripes down the sides of the legs, and a matching gray top (long-sleeved for cold weather, short-sleeved for hot) with gold military-looking embroidered thin stripes across the chest.
- Spirit. Admittedly, I haven’t been to a football game in years, but do we have anything to take the place of our Confederate Flag? I understand the administration banned it, claiming it was “offensive.” Personally, I don’t see it as anything more than a symbol of Ole Miss, not something of “white oppression.” Why, it’s no more offensive than Mississippi State snubbing Golden Retrievers in favor of the English Bulldog! But if fans can’t wave the flag, what can we use — red and blue pom poms maybe? Or red, white, and blue hand towels to twirl? Or those annoying Vuvuzela horns used at soccer games? Or maybe somebody can invent a noisemaker (like a kazoo) for us?
- Songs. Okay, when did we eliminate “Dixie” from our song-list? Talk about taking away everything! Sigh. Since we no longer can play/sing this rousing song, perhaps it’s time to initiate a new tradition. How about the playing/singing of our Alma Mater before games or at halftime? I didn’t know until I graduated that we even had an Alma Mater! The words are beautiful; so’s the melody. It could be very moving if everyone learned the words, rose to their feet, and joined in together.
Here’s the thing, people. I’ve heard and read far too many complaints that spirit at Ole Miss is down, that those attending games are lifeless, that we have nothing tangible to bind us together, generation to generation. That’s unacceptable.
Tradition is a big part of life. Greek organizations have their traditions; religious denominations, countries, universities, and even families have theirs. Alums should be able to go back to their university and feel “right at home,” knowing the old traditions are intact and open to adopting some new ones.
I’ve said it before — people don’t choose or reject a university based on its colors, mascot, or traditions. They learn to embrace and love those traditions, often before they even go off to kindergarten. And if they can’t stomach them, they choose another place to further their education. That’s the beauty of freedom.