Published 8:00 am Wednesday, June 29, 2022
We’ve always known there’s something special about Oxford and the University of Mississippi.
Now, the nation knows as well.
Over the past two weeks, the Ole Miss baseball team captured the hearts of the nation as the “last in” Rebels took on the challenge of a Men’s College World Series and came away with a national championship.
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It’s the first national championship for a men’s team at Ole Miss and the second in school history, and it came in true Ole Miss fashion – with plenty of highs, lows and unbelief.
After all, there is nothing sweeter than a redemption story. The season started with hope and then a major slump against SEC teams/SEC tournament looked like it was over. But the seniors who came back to play this season and the hardworking talented players believed they were the team of destiny. Coach Mike Bianca believed in his team and stayed focused despite rumors that his career was on the line. The Rebels were last to be picked in the field of 64 for the NCAA tournament and became the national champions.
And while the national attention turns deservedly to the players and coaches, let’s not forget the Ole Miss fan base who, despite never having won a national championship, believed in their team. Thousands of fans descended on Omaha – nearly 20,000 were on hand for the championship series, setting records for attendance – and brought the spirit of Swayze field to the Midwest.
The Ole Miss faithful are the heart and soul of our fan base – the folks who don the powder blue and say “maybe this year” each season. And it was this year, indeed.
The streets around Oxford have been pretty empty for the past 11 days, and we’re OK with that. We know that thousands of fathers, sons, mothers and friends experienced on of the greatest moments in Ole Miss athletics history … and it’s a gift to treasure.
We also know that the national spotlight will bring more attention – and more people – to our beloved community. Over the course of this series, the nation got to see Ole Miss as we know it – a university with a phenomenal base of fan support; student athletes who set aside personal gain for the good of the team; a coach who holds true to himself even in the midst of controversy; and the appreciation of all those qualities and ideals.
The country has taken note: there is something special about the Rebels, the University of Mississippi and Oxford.
We’ve known it all along.