August: Renewal and Football

I woke up Friday morning in Oxford town and headed out for a walk. It felt like fall.

So I sent a text to Andy Strickland, who many will recall so ably did our website before the Scout.com days, to see if he felt it in the air, too.

"Fall" was all my message said. "Sure feels like it" was his response. Andy's our first-feel-of-fall barometer each August. It's his favorite month of football season. Haven't lost a game. Oh, the anticipation.

But Andy's feeling a little bit like the rest of us this time around. This August feels a little like the old days. The not-so-long-ago old days, that is. The days of the late ‘90s and early part of the new century when everybody looked forward to the season, and a bowl game was almost a given.

That's what these new coaches and the current players have done. I see it and feel it every day. A new day at Ole Miss. A renewal, like August always is.

Maybe I'm putting the cart before the horse a bit talking about bowl games and all. But there is promise, and you can do things like that on cool, crisp, pre-fall days that somehow sneak their way in during the dog days of summer.

It'll be hot again, probably unbearably so, maybe even on Aug. 30 at 6 p.m.

But right now it feels like what football's supposed to feel like.

I do that walking and exercise thing more these days. Have for two years. This week, Aug. 3 to be exact, was my two-year anniversary of heart surgery. One of those moments or milestones we don't tend to forget.

It's also the two-year anniversary of me fully understanding what a family we all are, at Ole Miss and among us Spirit folks – subscribers and staffers. I thank all of you again for your thoughts and prayers back then and since. They've helped. My life is better.

Chuck's been terrific as I've gotten back into the routine, with some healthful changes, along the way past two years. Yancy, too. We've done some things differently around here, and we've added Chase. Could we have picked a "new guy" any better? What an addition.

After the walk Friday morning, I went for a checkup with my cardiologist. Things appear fine two years in. Keep doing what you're doing, he said. Didn't even tell me to lose some more weight, which I need to do. (I was actually down a little since last winter, so that is good).

UnrighteousReb makes sure I remember to keep watching that and exercising. His jogging reports inspire me, or tire me out reading them, knowing how far he must run to give us the updates. I need to join him.

Saw him at practice Thursday at the IPF. He again made sure to remind me to stay off the fried chicken and French fries. We all can use encouragement in some form or another.

Friday my cardiologist and I talked football, as usual. It's that time of year. Michael Harmon's wife works in their office. Todd Sandroni is there often, coming over from their Tupelo office.

Before I left, I had a heart echo done. The lady who did it said she was originally from Drew. So yes, there was some Archie talk, and more football. And Lafayette County High volleyball. Her daughter's team has already started its season.

August is like that. It's almost like New Year's all over again, a renewal of almost everything we are and do. Some of it has to do with the start of school. The rest of it has to do with football.

And in my case, that anniversary I'll likely never forget.

So I'll see some of you at the scrimmage in the Vaught in a little while. As for the rest of you, we'll try to keep you posted until you get here for Meet The Rebs next weekend and for the opener in three weeks.

Now step outside. Can't you feel it?


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