Sunday, September 16, 2007

I have been reading Alabama papers about Mississippi State's victory over Auburn yesterday. I know that teams like Auburn have little to no respect for State. It hurts but I understand it.

However, when reading the accounts of the game, the columns, and the fan comments, one would think that Auburn played itself and lost. Mississippi State gets no, zero, zip credit for winning.

A lot of the comments were about the fans booing Brandon Cox, the Auburn quarterback. There was controversy, actually, about whether the booing was for Cox, the team, or the coaches.

I can only remember booing at State in one instance. It was in the Jackie Sherrill era. We were getting beat all the time with an all running offense that wasn't working.

Late in a game we were losing, the crowd just lost it. They booed a running play. It was clear it was the play. The next play was an unsuccessful pass play. I joined in with the cheers. A play that was a failure got cheered just for the effort.

The local sports editor of the Starkville Daily News wrote a column the next week denouncing the boos and even the cheers.]

I wrote him, not for publication, explaining why I cheered. I said that every year I sit in the stands supporting the team. No one ever knows or cares what my opinion it. It is the same for others around me. The frustration builds up about the play selection and we finally express it. We were not booing the players, I would not condone that. As a sports writer, he has access to the coaches. His opinion is heard,both in private and in the pages of the newspaper. Gameday is the only time the loyal crowd has for expressing an opinion, and that is only through cheers and boos.

He was very nice and wrote back that he thought maybe he agreed with me. We got to know him better the next year when the baseball team went to Maine and we hung around together, going to tourist sites, like passing Stephen King's house.

I don't think Auburn should have booed in that situation but I understand their frustration.

I once heard a man behind me boo a couple of times at a State game. I turned around and told me how it hurt to hear him boo these young men. He apologized to me, saying I was right, but just sometimes it gets him down and he loses perspective. He did not do it again.

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