Ole Miss Football: Grove Grinder, Bad Losses, Such Is Life

OXFORD, MS - OCTOBER 21: Arden Key
OXFORD, MS - OCTOBER 21: Arden Key /

Ole Miss football fans know just a little something about losing on the field. However, losses happen off the field as well and things may get much worse before they get better.

Optimism is a fickle mistress when it come to Ole Miss football. Oh this season is a train-wreck and there have been a lot of cars involved. By the end of the season, this team will be hunting for a new head coach and staff. Of course, by that time we’ll have heard the ruling from the COI and could see a mass exodus of players away from Oxford. Yes, it could get much worse for Ole Miss off the field than any number of losses this season.

While Ole Miss chat boards are on fire with Monday morning quarterbacks trying to be optimistic about the future of Ole Miss football, it can be tough. Of course, any Ole Miss fan is certainly entitled to their own opinions about the state of affairs with the Ole Miss football program. However, there is a fine line between optimism and pessimism. That fine line is reality.

The Reality Of Things

Ole Miss Rebels Football
Ole Miss Rebels Football /

Ole Miss Rebels Football

Right now, the reality of Ole Miss football is not very good. I mean we have all been watching the same Ole Miss team and we know what we’ve all seen. It’s no mass hallucination. It’s the real deal.

We looked terrible against LSU and the end result was a loss on the field. However the most devastating loss certainly came after the game, when Shea Patterson received the news his season was over.

If anybody on this football team has earned the right to play the rest of this season it would be Shea Patterson. I like this young man. Not only is he an exceptional athlete, he is also a very good model for any student-athlete. Saturday, we watched Shea play while hurting and he gave everything he could give.

As Sean Patterson Sr once told me about Shea, “Shea is going to give everything he has every play.” And he did against LSU. Now of course, hindsight is 20/20 and we know the pain Shea must have been in on the field. Of course, that pain is nothing compared to missing the final 5 games of the season with your brothers. Today has to be a hard day for Shea, but it will get better. Prayers for Shea. Such is life.

Remembering Coach Wood

Of course, we’ve all had that one person who we look back on and give credit. Coach Joe Wood was my high school coach at Philadelphia HS. He was a great coach and even better man. Still today I love running into him around town and chatting about life.

In 1982, the Philadelphia Tornadoes were undefeated when we made a road-trip to Enterprise Mississippi to take on the Bulldogs. We were supposed to blow this team out of the water. We had the No.1 runningback in the nation in Marcus Dupree who had been putting up fantastic numbers all season. I believe in the game Dupree had two TDs called back for holding and one kickoff return called back for blocking in the back. Of course, with Dupree you didn’t have to commit penalties. We lost the game 7-3.

I can remember Coach Woods telling us, “the game of life is way more important than any game on any field. And there would be obstacles in life which could change your game plan.” “However, if you knew you were doing the right thing then never give up. The game of football is a lot like life,” I remember him saying. “You win some and you have to lose a few, but you keep on playing, such is life.”

We All Have Losses

Almost 35 years have passed since that night in Enterprise. There have been more football losses than I can count though there weren’t many. However, there have been losses off the field of each and every player in the game that night. Team mates of mine have passed away at very young ages from a variety of things. We’ve lost 2 quarterbacks and several defensive linemen. They weren’t shielded from life’s losses and the rest of us aren’t either.

We’ve all suffered loss at some point. The loss of a loved one or just a loss at the hands of love. Some of us have faced the hardships of divorce and even near bankruptcy. However, we have been lucky enough to be a starter in this thing called life. You keep grinding away for extra yardage. So far, we’ve lost a few but we keep playing because we know we’ll win some more.

Next: What We've Learned So Far...

Losses are going to happen. It really doesn’t matter what team you love. You can wear Red and Blue, Yellow and Gold or even Crimson and White, but at some point your going to face loss. The point is to keep on playing. Such is life.