For some reason about this time every year, I become very anxious for football season. I love OLE MISS and Oxford...it is so fun to see all the girls in their pearls, dresses, and heels. I love seeing the little boys throwing footballs with their daddys. I LOVE hearing the Ole Miss band play DIXIE.
|“||Tailgating in The Grove is an experience so sublime even native son William Faulkner would be at a loss to describe it.||”|
|“||There is no more beautiful spot to tailgate, nor one richer in tradition; the Grove has been the site of pregame picnicking for more than half a century.||”|
|“||The glory of the Grove is legend at all of Ole Miss’s rival schools in the Southeastern Conference and beyond. It is the mother and mistress of outdoor ritual mayhem.||”|
A common saying by "grovers" is "We may not win every game, but we've never lost a party."
Joe Cahn, known as "The Commissioner of Tailgating", said after his 2003 Tailgating tour that The Grove is "probably the most single outstanding tailgating area in the country." He continued:
|“||There may be bigger…there may be louder…but there truly isn’t any better tailgating than Ole Miss.||”|
“The girls here are the best,” he said. “They’re smart, pretty, high-class girls. They have everything you’d want in a woman. And this place is full of them.”
The Grove is also full of traditional Southern food: fried chicken, pork, homemade dressings and mashed potatoes. A pair of MU fans roast a pig over an open grill. Mary Thompson, who has been coming to Ole Miss tailgates for decades, began cooking her tailgate dishes on Monday. The final spread includes fried chicken, chips, salsa, cheese sandwiches, strawberries and her signature stuffed eggs.
The heat is now unbearable, but the party rages on. Cheerleaders perform routines at a small amphitheater located in the middle of The Grove. Kids wearing their favorite players’ jerseys throw footballs that are too big for their hands. Suddenly, a loud voice breaks the hum of the crowd.
“Are you ready?” a young man screams to the masses.
“Hell yes! Damn right!” they reply, as if on cue.
Then, in unison, they begin to sing the Hotty Toddy fight song:
Hotty Toddy, Gosh almighty
Who in the hell are we - Hey
Flim Flam, Bim Bam
Ole Miss By Damn!