It’s simply destiny for our Ole Miss Rebels

Published 4:45 pm Saturday, July 2, 2022

Whew – After sweeping our Super Regionals in Coral Cables, defeating them nemesis pigs of Arkansas who always have our number and whom we truly do not like, we went 10-3 against Oklahoma last Saturday who I truly do like because they are so like ourselves with Coach Skip Johnson and his all-class team who will soon be joining us in the SEC along with Texas, then 4-2 victory for a sweep on Sunday to clinch the 2022 CWS as National Champions…first time in Ole Miss history, so unreal….

After the game, I nestled into my deck chair, sipped a swell bourbon on my Ole Patio for Happy Hour with that class black cat, Jag (Jaguar) who adopted, owns, and trains me – and tried to get my head around all this …o ut of over 300 teams, beginning the season ranked #1, a slump in the middle (like Oklahoma), counted out, 22nd season for Mike Bianco our Head Baseball Coach and one of my all-time heroes, the guys rallied to show who they were and why we were ranked number 1 – now College World Series National Champions for the 1st time in school history – Swell done Rebels – so proud to be an Ole Miss alum, to live in Oxford, and to know Coach B and his awesome family!! Thank you, God.

It was especially time for Coach B, so class, so close, so often, so dedicated, so awesome, so Catholic – this Rebel team, this Ole Miss, this Oxford, this you and me – this Destiny Rebel Team!  And is way more than just a talented bunch of baseball guys with a swell coach – I’m a “Cradle Catholic” who came to Oxford in 1988 to work on our Ole Miss Campus and complete my Ph.D., in Counseling.  In the baseball 1989 season and our new Swayze Stadium – I was there on opening day to see Yankee legend Whitey Ford throw out the first pitch, and there to see “Big Ben” McDonald, now one of my all-time favorite announcers, pitch for LSU against us, caught by Mike Bianco, with Camie Bianco present…destiny….

And it was destiny, God’s will, that brought me to Oxford in 1988 to work on the Ole Miss Campus, finally, after eight blooming years, complete my Ph.D., on May 10, 1997 birthday, hooded by all-time hero, Chancellor, Robert Khayat…and to live here in “Camelot” thankfully, my forever home.

Then in 2000, after all those years in stereo thumping apartments with low-class, flunk-out derelicts, as newly appointed, Director of MBA Career Services in the Ole Miss School of Business Administration and teacher, had my new house built, moved in, and Coach Mike Bianco became our swell head baseball coach…yeah, some of you were fortuitously birthed that magnificent year and as we won the 2022 CWS Championship – graduated from Ole Miss with Coach B as your only known Ole Miss Baseball Coach – get your head around that!

Mike Bianco is one of my all-time heroes – not just because he is the winningest coach in Ole Miss history, but because he is a devout Catholic, as me, his entire family, humble as his wife Camie, her mom Patty, dad Jerry Marquette my special friends who participate in Sunday and weekday Mass, sit directly behind me in church…common folk like you and me…

The Bianco’s have five children – Coach Michael, Sam, Drew who plays baseball for LSU and Ben at Louisville as you know, and perhaps the toughest of all, Catherine – I think she could whip her four brothers with one hand, serves Mass at St. John’s Catholic Church here in Oxford, and will be attending Ole Miss this fall – can’t wait to see what this young lady will become … President, Ole Miss coach …?

Drew and Ben could have played for their dad at Ole Miss, but he of course for fairness, said no – go elsewhere!  Way cool that Drew followed coach to LSU and like Ben at Louisville, have proven themselves away from dad; watched both Drew and Ben slug a homerun against Ole Miss while Coach B looked on awkwardly as they rounded the bases – HA!

Through all this, although not superstitious, owned by a black cat, was respectable of baseball superstitions (almost wrote my dissertation on this way interesting topic) did not wear my 2014 CWS T-Shirt, nor wish “good luck” before any game to the Bianco family, anything else thought to be a jinx – bloody hell – whew, that took way too much energy and wore my Notre Dame T-shirt to Mass on Thursday, June 30 – my top three college teams: Rebels, Vandy Boys, Notre Dame….

Peace Out y’all Ole Miss and Oxford peeps and WAY TO GO BASEBALL REBELS AND COACH B!!!

PS: Although the fireworks happened in Omaha – Happy 4th of July and God Bless America!! 

 

Steve is an Oxford resident, worked on Campus, received his Ph.D. in Counseling from Ole Miss, is an LPC, NCC, and can be reached at sstricke@olemiss.edu.