This weekend, while we’re all supposed to be celebrating independence, I took a moment and freed myself from guilt.
That would be the guilt of not vacationing in Nebraska.
I felt it on Wednesday night when the baseball team from my alma mater, Vanderbilt, took the field against Mississippi State in the deciding game of the College World Series, in Omaha.
Miss State, by the way, was one of only three schools in Power 5 conferences to have never won a national championship in a team sport. (Vandy has won five: two in baseball, one in women’s tennis and another two in, ahem, women’s bowling.)
The stadium in Omaha, TD Ameritrade Ballpark, seats 24,000 fans, which is roughly the population of Starkville, and on television it looked and sounded like every one of them was in that stadium and wearing maroon and of the firm belief that every called strike by a Vanderbilt pitcher had actually landed somewhere in Kansas.
Every year, Bess and I enjoy taking a long summer roadtrip. At a distance from Auburn of 1,041 miles, Omaha certainly would have qualified. And if our whole family was on board, Vandy would have faced only 23,994 angry fans.
I tell you, we could have made a difference. Like, the Commodores may have lost by eight runs instead of nine.
Instead, we’re driving in a couple of weeks to Wisconsin, where one of our sons has a summer internship. We’re renting a place on Lake Michigan, hiking, boating, doing a fish fry, eating some cheese curds, catching a Brewers game. Should be nice.
The other day, our son called from the town of Fond du Lac, which means “farthest end of the lake,” and not “lake of melted cheese that’s good for dipping.” He was in a supermarket and he sneezed. No one else was in his aisle, but seconds later he heard three or four people holler, “Bless you!” from different aisles.
“This is the friendliest place on earth,” our son exclaimed.
Definitely friendlier than Omaha when your team’s playing Mississippi State.
Dimon Kendrick-Holmes is editor of the Opelika-Auburn News. Email him at email@example.com