Quote of the Day: Click here to hear the Great Jack Cristal
TB was ten years old the last time Mississippi State played number one Alabama. I wasn’t in Jackson that day, unfortunately. But I remember exactly where I was when I heard the news. I’d gotten bored listening on the radio and went outside to play. I had no expectation that State would win the game. By the time I was ten, I realized I’d chosen poorly in pledging allegiance to the Bullies, but at that age, I didn’t sweat it. After that day–when it was proved to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that anything was possible–I started sweating it.
I was out in the front yard tossing the football to myself when I heard our neighbor Mr. Lowell whoop and holler from two houses down the street. He’d probably been underneath one of the yard cars he was constantly tinkering with. I can’t remember the exact words, but I remember being startled at the outburst. It was something to the effect of “THEY DID IT. WOOOOOOOO. SIX-THREE. WOOOOOOO. <Unintelligible hollering>. WOOOOOOO. The guy was about 6-6 and he sounded bellowed like a cross between the Jolly Green Giant and Joshua’s horn. That was in normal conversation. He was excited this day. One of the many California natives transplanted to Pascagoula to work out at Ingall’s Shipyard during the roaring 70’s, he wasn’t even a State fan. But everybody loves an underdog, and that day, everybody loved my Dogs, including Mr. Lowell.
I realized what just happened must have been even more important that I originally figured. I ran inside to tell my Dad about it. He was sitting in his rocking chair watching whatever game ABC thought was more important than our game, and he’d just seen the score. He was mildly pleased as I recall, a significant emotional outburst by his standards, and I’m sure there was a warning that I shouldn’t get too excited. After all, he’d been a Bulldog for 40 years already and he knew the euphoria would be fleeting. But I had just seen proof that anything was possible. The old man was wrong. This was MY generation of Bulldogs and we could beat anybody, any time. Even Bear’s Tide, number one in the nation, back to back national champs and a twenty something game winning streak. So I didn’t leave my radio for the rest of the season or the next. By 1982 though, I was back to finding better things to do.
There have been precious few great moments to enjoy as a Bulldog since 1980. Just enough, I suppose to keep me watching, hoping. But hope dies a little more each Fall Saturday. I don’t go to many games any more. If there is something better to do, I’ll do it now, like I did back in 1980. This Saturday, we play Alabama again and they’re back at number one. I don’t think there is anything going on, so I’ll be watching ESPN to see if we can recapture some of the magic we had on that long ago November afternoon. At least until we get far enough behind that I can no longer imagine some victory scenario. Then I’ll find something better to do, even if its just turning off the TV. I can always relive the great moments on You Tube where ole Jack is always in good voice.
Bonus Quote of the Day “I was there when we beat the Bear.” one of approximately 6 million identical bumper stickers in use in Mississippi from 1980-1985. God, how I wish I’d had one.
I will be begrudgeonly cheering the Bullies on this weekend. Although, still deep down, I wouldn’t mind seeing them lose their final 3 games by 50 pts. But I still don’t believe they’d make a coaching change. Maybe they will atleast force some coaching staff changes. I do like Croom and have been more than willing to give him too many chances. But my trip to their last game opened my eyes. There was no enthusiasm inside or outside the stadium. Less than I think I ever saw in years past, even when state sucked (many years). I’d have loved to have seen a “Dogpound Rock.” Unlike you, I grew into a state fan through the years (probably should have chosen Southern but I’m stuck now for life.)
Thus, I will continue to cheer for them this weekend. I will be at work and will have to suffer through the game with several Bama fans. (The bad kind that couldn’t name another Bama athlete besides a football player if they had the athlete’s driver license in front of them.)
Probably, anyone else reading this is thinking “why are they giving all this thought to the Mississippi State football team? It’s State for christ’s sake!”…………They just don’t understand.
Was John Bond the quarterback then? I may have already told you but I had an autographed picture of him on my bedroom wall back then. I usually root for the underdog myself but I also have ties to Alabama making this a win-win situation for me.
Yep, John Bond was a true freshman. Like all State QB’s with the possible exception of poor Don Smith, he was less and less effective with each passing year.
If you watch the video, here are a few things to take note of:
1. Cristal’s excitement and tone of voice–highly unusual and seemingly optimistic from a man famed for being deadpan. I love the way he gripes about the Bear’s impact on the officiating.
2. You can’t really hear the crowd because the audio is from inside the press box, but it must’ve been loud. The QB cries about not hearing. Bear cried about cowbells after the game and I believe this was a major force in getting them outlawed. And when the fumble happens, it gets even louder.
3. Note how quickly the game moves, but how deliberately the Bama players move. It’s different these days–the refs back then didn’t take as long to set the ball after a first down either. And not many substitutions on either side of the ball–maybe none on State’s side.
4. How fitting/symbolic is it that in the biggest State victory ever (there used to be a few old timers who said the West Point win in 1937 was bigger), the Bullies fumble on the last play?
cool vid. i wonder how Bond felt on the bottom
of the pile at the end of the game when all his
teamates left the celebrate.
i tune in to state’s game on the radio when i’m
driving somewhere or when i’m at the hunting
camp he sure has gotten boring over the years
ole miss’s announcers are decent i think it’s
funny when they go to the sideline reporter
Stan, it seems the always catch him off guard.
Request for Admission TB: Please admit that: (a) you currently know the exact location of your nasty State 6 Bama 3 maroon t-shirt; and (b) you wish that you could still fit into that Youth Large classic t-shirt.
TB, thanks for this post. We can only hope for a similar outcome this weekend.