Back during the Starkville Super Regional I met an alumnus from the early 90's who had brought his 10 year old son (Parker). It was 3:30 on Friday waiting in the blazing sun for first pitch at 5 pm. During the hours that followed including the power outage (which right field had a blast with) I came to know Parker and his dad. Parker and his dad had drove in from Georgia to his parents home in Meridian. They came together for a father and son time.
It was Parker's first time on the MSU campus and his first ever MSU game of any sport. Parker shared about his baseball travel team. as we talked. He cheered with the crowd (MAROON......WHITE, MAROON.......WHITE), asked questions about the names and titles on the outfield fence. The game grew on Parker as he began to voice his approval for plays our beloved Bulldogs made and he heckled ball and strike calls as if he was sitting right behind the plate.
Parker quickly became enamored and fell in love with Mississippi State that day. There was just feel something special about Dudy Noble and Mississippi State that reached out to him. He beamed proudly in his MSU hat, t-shirt, and clung tightly to his program and hand fan. As the game finished and we departed the stadium, I decided to ask Parker if he knew where he wanted to go to college at. As it turns out, most of his friends are Georgia fans. But, he turned and looked at his dad, and then he answered that this is where he wants to go to school. He wants to attend Mississippi State University in Starkville, Mississippi for college. Because he believed that it was special here. Because it is special here.
The game was great that day. Fans had a great time sharing thoughts and memories. Sure, admittedly, it would have been nice to win that Friday or the next game on Saturday. Ultimately though, that wasn't what was most important. Our Bulldogs competed at the highest level of their capabilities and a new generation of fans, as well as students, were drawn into a relationship with a place that will permeate every part of their soul one day, as it already has with some of ours.
As alumni, it is important that we pass on our passion for Mississippi State on to the next generations. Days, weeks, months, and years have flown by but Mississippi State is like a mother to me. And it's possible that Mississippi State is like a mother to many other alumni and fans such as you, too. We long to spend time with her again and again and do our best to honor her with our lives and provide for her future care.
Parker, I hope you one day that you will be True Maroon, just like your father, myself, and many others are.