When my wife and I had our first child earlier this year, I received as much praise and attention as at any other time in my life, save perhaps for my wedding day. Family, friends, and coworkers barraged me with congratulatory texts, emails, and phone calls. Strangers would soon stop me in the grocery store to admire my daughter and approvingly acknowledge the efforts I made to blunder my way through a public outing with a young infant.
And rightfully so. We had, after all, essentially managed to transcend human finitude—we created another human being, and would be shaping her very personhood daily for decades to come. My various graduations were all momentous in their own ways, as have been jobs and other personal achievements. But everyone knew without explanation that having a baby was just different.
Remarkably, though, this triumph has been rivaled by another only months later—I have accomplished the apparently Herculean feat of being a Mississippi State fan outside of Mississippi. I think I received more texts messages in the four-or-so-hour stretch during and immediately after the Auburn game than I have ever received in any other week of my life. And it wasn't just the usual suspects, either. People that I see only a few times a year, if that, felt the need to congratulate me on the team's success. Wearing a State sweatshirt into grocery stores, a practice that was once likely viewed by Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama fans as a quaint show of bumpkin pride, is now an invitation for applause at least as deserving as the presence of the brand new sentient being in the stroller before me.
My wife jokes that she can now be certain that I'll never forget the year of our first child's birth—I can just count forward from the 2014 football season.
And, you know, as insane as it all is, it really is gratifying. No, not giggle-for-hours-with-your-newborn gratifying. But it doesn't need to be. The team is playing some of the best offensive football I've ever seen at State. The defense is exciting, disruptive, and has so far been able to adapt to a variety of offenses, including one that many consider to be among the best in all of college football. And the starting quarterback is essentially Captain America in cleats.
It's as simple as this—in addition to the satisfaction of the wins, it's just fun watching these guys play.
So on what has to be the best off week in the history of Mississippi State football, it's time for another toast to yourself. My suggestion? Mull some fresh cider, add a shot or two of whisky, and sit down for a nice, stress-free autumn evening with idle. You deserve it