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FOR MADMEN ONLY

I’ve had a curious relationship with Ole Miss since I began seeing her in adolescence. One of the earliest memories I have of her is how she looked when Florida came to Oxford in 2002. I remember all of her admirers being elated to call themselves her Rebels that day – and I began to admire her as well.
I wanted to see Ole Miss more, so September of 2003 it was arranged for me to meet her in Memphis. When I arrived, however, I was greeted only by Danny Wimprine and DeAngelo Williams – Ole Miss decided not to show up. Heartbroken, I learned how cruel she could be to her diehard fans.
But being thirteen, I was not upset long. For most of 2003 Ole Miss did decide to show up, and towards the end she put herself in position to please the Rebel faithful. But she did not deliver, and as LSU celebrated winning the West on our field, Ole Miss revealed that she had been teasing us again.
As the seasons passed Ole Miss began to show up less and less, so I moved to Oxford to finish school and be close to her in 2008. She handed the BCS National Champions their one loss that fall and became a fashionable name in 2009 – she even scored the preseason cover of Sports Illustrated. But as soon as I bought in, Ole Miss traveled to USC to reveal that she had teased her Rebels once more.
Now it is 2012 and our favorite femme fatale is back to her old tricks – but I have become too clever for them. When we examine her recent meeting with Vanderbilt we see a familiar pattern begin to unfold: Ole Miss has a habit of elevating the spirits of her Rebels just high enough to bring them down.
With a three possession lead in the second half against the Commodores, Ole Miss implied that we should pack our bags and begin planning for our bowl game. She then reneged in gut wrenching fashion, and as Vanderbilt celebrated bowl eligibility on our field she whispered to me: “Just teasing.”
But I suspected what she was up to – I know now how she plays her games. Ole Miss is a Siren whose song drives men and women to madness, and thus I have learned to approach her with a ten-foot pole. But I fear for the mental health of fellow Rebels: How can a person who has experienced the Cannon punt return, the seven-overtime loss to Arkansas, Jacksonville State, Valparaiso, and three straight Super-Regional losses on our home field have maintained sanity? It cannot be possible – studies concerning the long-term mental health repercussions of being an Ole Miss fan should be mandated immediately.
But no matter the headaches and panic attacks, we find ourselves coming back to the stadium and tuning in to David Kellum for the latest tease – we are a hopeless bunch. Vaught-Hemmingway should be renamed the “Magic Theater” and we should post warning signs at each gate that read: “ENTRANCE NOT FOR EVERYBODY – FOR MADMEN ONLY.”  Then we can replace the Bear with Steppenwolf.
To be an Ole Miss fan is to consent to the ultimate test of patience. Realistic fans that can see how she tricks the others into having expectations have learned to be quite patient as a result – Hell, being patient in five o’ clock traffic is a breeze for fans who were patient throughout the entire Orgeron era. In the future I’ll be patient enough to beat Thich Nhat Hanh in a contest of who can be seated the longest.
Have I been understood? – To admire Ole Miss is to be subjected to one big tease after another, but she can still leave her Rebels satisfied once they catch on to her tricks and temper their expectations.  
Such is love.

Andrew Dickson is a religious studies senior from Terry. Follow him on Twitter @addoxfordms.