Ole Miss football and The Grove simply go together and tomorrow when the Rebels host SIU Rebels fans will be back in the Grove and the groove.
While many Ole Miss football fans opened up the 2018 season with a trip to Houston to see the Rebels big 47-27 win over Texas Tech, there are those of us who didn’t. For the rest of us we will be kicking off the Rebels home opener tomorrow when Southern Illinois comes into Oxford to test the Rebels. Of course, we’ve had almost a year to prepare for tomorrow and it will mean Rebels getting back into the football groove and also getting back into The Grove.
Known as the premier tailgating experience in college football The Grove draws tens of thousands of fans each home game. Even the opposition takes in the festivities and can’t stop talking about the atmosphere and the hospitality of Rebel Nation. Yes The Grove is indeed a very well-known and special place but it means so much more for Ole Miss fans. On gameday Rebels who haven’t seen each other in days, weeks or years will reunite in a place they love.
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In 53 years I’ve had quite a few Grove Saturdays and a few Thursday nights. In that time I’ve seen some huge Rebels wins and some heartbreaking losses. I can remember when I was a kid and we could still park in The Grove. There were pre-games spent playing football with other kids some of which became life long friends.
When I got older it was the place we went to meet up with our friends from school and have a good time. And there was always a good time to be had by all. I’m sure there are some of those moments which were clouded at the time by drink and have since been washed away by new memories from the times I’ve since spent in The Grove.
On A Quiet Day
Of course, not all memories from the Grove are from gameday. There have been times when I went to the Grove for other reasons. I made the trip to Oxford from Philadelphia, MS one wintery day to get pics of The Grove covered in snow. I also made the same trip after an ice storm. Everything was still and quiet yet I could close my eyes and be taken immediately back to the moments I had spent there surrounded by thousands of people. Yes, the Grove is almost like a time machine for Ole Miss Rebels fans.
Over the years I’ve had a chance to hear other Rebels talk about their Grove experiences. For some their fondest memories of Ole Miss football is from the Saturday afternoons spent in The Grove. There are also some who like me have found The Grove as somethings besides just a tailgating spot.
The Grove is symbolic of the Ole Miss family and is almost a place of reverence for many of us. It’s a place where friendships and in some cases families have been formed and the strong bond it created and represents will always be there. So tomorrow as you are in The Grove just take a minute to reflect on your own fondest memories and what it means to you as you get back in the Ole Miss football groove. Hotty Toddy!