The University of Mississippi is perpetually lit, no matter what time of year it is. However, most students, parents, teachers, local degenerates, and alumni would all agree that nothing compares to a tailgate in the Grove.
The Grove is chock full of tradition, no matter where you look. It starts with dressing up in Sunday’s best on Saturday. You have multiple generations of Srat queens in their color-coordinated, Lilly Pulitzer dresses, which will end up at Goodwill after one use. You have your overly-ambitious freshman fraternity pledges, with their dress coats and ties, drunkenly stumbling through seas of red and blue tents, and blindly hoping for the chance to make it onto Old Row. Middle-aged dads sport the air-hardo, mud-white New Balances, which match their Rebel polo shirts and slacks, all while tossing back a couple of beers and reminiscing about the glory days. True beauty at the world’s biggest cocktail party.
Tradition doesn’t stop at the garb. Walk through every tent, ask around, and you will find some of the most absurd gameday rituals you could possibly imagine. “Thursday night before home weekends, we run over to Kroger and pick up a ham. Friday night you do a little baking, and by Saturday in the Grove, it becomes a rum ham,” said one tailgater who preferred to remain anonymous. Eating your drinks is both an innovative and efficient way to ensure maximum calories and BAC come game time.
For kids that grew up going to the Grove every season, childhood traditions were common. The most unique tradition in this category had to go to Ole Miss student Ace Chrysler. “Our parents were always too far gone to worry about what we were doing, so my siblings and I would end up playing this game where we tried to steal bulbs from various chandeliers in some of the nicer tents,” he said. A very bold move, but one that certainly provided much entertainment for those too young to consume the adult beverages the Grove has to offer.
1.) The Walk:
Perhaps the most blurry tradition of them all is the famed walk. No, not the players and coaches marching the Walk of Champions, but the students stumbling from the Grove to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Each week, students ask themselves the pressing question: Will I make it into the game today? It takes strategizing. If you get to the Grove too early, you may get too drunk to make the walk. If you get there too late, however, you might not get drunk enough to be able to withstand the heat of the student section. Regardless, the walk itself is always what decides this. What it comes down to in the end is not being the most fucked up person heading to the stadium. If you are, you’ll most likely end up passed out in the streets, or thrown in the drunk tank by UPD. If it isn’t you getting tossed in the back of a cop car or passing out, then it’s pretty fun to watch this tradition happen.
In the end, whether you’re a first timer, or a seasoned veteran, the Grove provides all of us at Ole Miss with memories (or lack thereof) to last a lifetime. It’s truly the greatest place on earth.
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