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Friday, January 2, 2015

Red and Blue Through and Through

$50 Hotel ✔️
$50 Club Level Ticket ✔️
$50 Food ✔️
$35 Gas from MS to GA ✔️
 
Getting to see my Rebels play one more time live and in person with Rebel Nation this season...

PRICELESS!

Hey there BlogNation!  It's me, the daddy of Essary 4.0, once again coming at you with a few words.

I am a life long Ole Miss Rebel.  I attended my first class there when I was 3 years old, stayed with my aunt Sarah while she was a student.  As a kid I went to as many games of any sport that my family would take me too.  Once I was able to get myself to events when I got my license at 15, there was no stopping me.  Football, baseball, basketball, soccer, tennis, volleyball (I refereed some while I attended Ole Miss), track, softball and even hockey...yes Ole Miss has hockey.  I love college sports and especially any sport from The University of Mississippi, the Flagship University.  Being actively involved is pretty cool.  There have been great moments from the past such as storming the field after wins against such teams as Florida and Alabama, great victories over rivals such as LSU and State.  My first date with Melissa was to a Vandy game in Oxford.  I plan to continue to be as involved as possible in the future.  I was active in the student rebel foundation as a student and have kept active as an alumni member in as many ways as possible beyond just the sporting events.  It's not particularly easy to be active with anything these days. To do something takes effort, whether it involves money, time or energy, whatever you want to do cost something.  If you care about something then you have to work for it, make preparations and get it done. 

Faith, Family and Friends!  For me I look at it as a triangle where my faith sits at the top point and is connected to family and friends.  Everything I do affects someone else.  It may be one of my children or one of the families that serve through my job.  Most every friend that I have is connected to me through ether work, school, sports or Church.  When I look to make preparations for something I go to extra lengths to make the best possible choices available.  The option to just go and do is not always readily available for me and my family so looking for good deals and even freebies is what works for us.  I have a pretty good knack for it, just ask those who have been along for some of the deals, but it does take lots of time and effort.  From full price tickets to see Rebel baseball in a super regional to being handed a free ticket from a head coaches wife after walking away from the Tad Pad and a sold out contest against MSU.  Just like what you see in the check list above.  I was able to make the whole trip for the Peach Bowl for less than face value of tickets.  There was the $150 game ticket, $15 Fan Fest and $50 Blue lot parking pass.  My total spending for the entire trip was around $200, give or take a few bucks.  Knowing where to look and who to ask makes a difference.  Connections in different ways help out, like having friends in high places ya know.  We all like to have fun and God enjoys us being happy right?  Should we feel guilty for having fun?  Absolutely not!  I feel that he helps to make a way for all the opportunities that I have had, even in regards to those experiences with Ole Miss.

Like I said I love Ole Miss sports and the biggest of all is football.  During high school I went to as many games as possible.  My senior year, in high school, I had student tickets but still missed a couple of games that season.  During my 6 years in college, both at Northeast and Ole Miss, I didn't hardly miss a game as had student tickets each year, one way or the other.  Those were during the Eli Manning years so there were good ones for the most part.  Once I graduated from college it became more difficult to get to the games but nonetheless I've not missed a year without making it to at least a couple of games.  For the 2012 and 2013 seasons I was able to have season tickets and even went to some away games.  I've been to several away games and to most SEC stadiums at least once.  But until the Hugh Freeze era I had never been to a Bowl game.  Now I've made it to all 3.  The first year, for the 2012 season, to the Birmingham Bowl a friend purchased me a ticket as a Christmas present that year.  I got a deal through Living Social for a hotel that 4 of us traveled together and split.  For the 2013 season I was able to start the season in Nashville with the opener as I went with Shane and some friends, by the way, I was given a free ticket just before the game for this one.  So what better way but to end the year with the team in Nashville?  So we as Essary 4.0 decided to make this our family Christmas trip.  Once again I was able to locate a great deal through Living Social for a 3 night stay in a nice hotel at a budget price.  I originally got cheap tickets for the 4 of us but the day before the bowl game I located a guy with 2 tickets in a suite for an amazing price.  Seeing as the girls were not really looking forward to the cold game I jumped on them and sold the other 4.  So now me and Korban had 2 tickets in a suite for less than I paid for the original 4 tickets.  We had a blast at the game where we ate all we could handle for free while the girls played around at the mall in Nashville.  Throughout the year Korban has talked about the bowl game and being behind the glass.

So this year the Bowl game would be in Atlanta.  We had already made plans to have our family Christmas trip in Chattanooga before Christmas, which was a very fun and relaxing trip.  So now what to do about Atlanta?  We tried to persuade different friends and family to go along with us.  Some of them said no for various reasons.  We settled on that me and Korban would go.  That was until the day to leave for the game when Korban got sick and was unable to make the trip.  I had found a great deal this time on Hotels Tonight and it was already booked so I headed out with my uncle Shane and his son Graham.

I really had a blast with the crew I was with.  Shane is a tried a true GameDay companion for sure.  Graham knows his Rebel football and seemed to enjoy the trip.  The hotel was really cool but sometimes when you get a great deal there are issues.  This was one time, they had no rooms left with two beds so we only had one.  It might have not meant much in the long run of things but as I look at it I feel that it is an example of how I truly think of others before myself.  I was just happy to be there so for the night I pulled chairs together and slept on them as it allowed my uncle and cousin to have the bed.  It was my mistake and I took responsibility.  The hotel was only a mile in a half from the Georgia Dome for the game so traffic was no problem.  We had a great parking pass just across from the Dome which was so cool.  We made our way to the Peach Bowl Fan Fest the morning of the game.  We met up with several other friends and family like usual.  There were great expectations and the game itself let us down by the outcome of the score.  It was difficult to see and hear the loud TCU crowd and tempting to leave at even halftime.  My team was just not looking good on this day and it was very ugly.  Excuses could be made and blame be labeled on individuals but it never changes anything.  The bottom line was that the better team won on this day.

So what do you do when your team is really getting embarrassed?  Well this is what I did.  It's not the first time of utilizing this strategy at a sporting event.  Being a true Ole Miss Rebel comes with its ups and unfortunately so very many downs.  When this happens the typical fan heads to their car for the journey home.  I took advantage of the opportunity to check out better seats than what I had.  We had pretty good seats to begin with but things can usually always be better.  Getting closer to the field or on the 50 yard line or even in club areas we couldn't earlier in the game.  A sports arena explorer I guess you could call me. We stuck it out till the clock hit 0:00.  From the walk through at the Fan Fest to the last note of the Pride of the South band.  Every day is a good day to be a Rebel.  Hotty Toddy!
From the corner of the end zone to the 50 yard line!


Got some freebies and goodies to take back to my little ones that missed the trip.  That's what made me think to write this post.  Out of all the fun that there was I just could not get past the fact that it's all better with them than without.  For about a month I've been looking forward to me and Korban going to this game.  The original plan was for us all to go stay a couple of days in Atlanta but that changed.  Then the day we were going to head out, Korban became sick.  Went to doctor to confirm it and got meds.  Man, I didn't want it to be true but it was. I then tried my best to beg, plead and bribe for Selah to go, to no avail. She sent me off with a picture of her so I wouldn't be alone.

Korban at the only game he made it to with me this year.  He always struggles in some way each time we go but we stretch and we push forward as he continues to improve at public events such as sporting events and concerts.  He works so very hard to enjoy actives even as can see his body working against him.  If it's sensory related or whatever it may be for my little dude, it is not easy for him.  The evidence is in the days, weeks or even months following as he continues to talk about every little detail.  He truly does enjoy getting to go and I can say that I enjoy it better with him than without.  That spirit Korban has was missed for the game.  So it's his fault we lost right?


This is Selah, my frog princess.  Like I said I tried everything I knew to get her to go but she didn't want to be the only girl.  I came to the conclusion that if she would have come to the game then those Frogs could have been better tamed by the frog princess.  So it's her fault we lost right?


Here is a representation of the best part of Me.  I am better with them than without for sure and That's a Fact Jack.  God knew what he was doing when he constructed this fabulous unit.  Melissa went to Ole Miss because of me and with it came opportunities that she excelled with.  She was the best social worker around and utilized specialized training to be even better.  She turns that heart to caring for the other precious 2 in the picture and does a fabulous job.  Selah is old enough now to participate in more Rebelette activities available and has plans to do just that in February with a girls sports clinic.  Last year she did a cheer camp and loved it but most of the events require participants to be 5 years old.  Basketball is here and we will be in Oxford on Saturday to watch the rebels and Baseball is only 43 days away.

Game face on in Oxford!  Go Rebels Go!

Through the autism, through the financial struggles, through time restraints and even at times pure exhaustion we find ourselves in the Grove or locking the Vaught or packing the Tad Pad one more time.  So until the next opportunity that presents itself I will continue to be on the lookout for great deals that allow for all my little rebels to be apart of something special and fun.  


Exactly!

It's important to me that there be more to someone and something than just the pure surface.  I love following the athletes who give back to the community or take time for the fans or best of all express and share their faith.  When a head coach does this it is even better.  The current Rebel head coach strives for passion through love for one another.  At last year's Rebel Road Show as it came to Corinth, Korban and I were in attendance.  Coach Freeze took time with Korban and made it special.  He even called Korban out as his buddy in front of the large crowd.  He has remembered us a few times since then, like when we saw him at meet the Rebels in August.  

This is what I want for my kids is to think of others and not purely themselves.  It's what I strive for in my everyday life.  I work in a field where I'll never afford season tickets in the club level but I don't have to as long as I've got the will to serve others then the opportunities for fun will present themselves.  Always have and always will.  Daily I help those who will never be able to help me and all I want is to better myself so that I can better help them.  I am about 6 months away from completing my masters degree in behavior analysis.  For example of the fun that comes along: beyond getting to take youth I work with to local activities like movies there were opportunities to take a group of special needs kids fishing and boat riding, took a group to an Atlanta Braves game and yes even had the opportunity with free tickets to take a group to an Ole Miss football game.  

Through the planning and amazing opportunities that presented themselves this past year of 2014 the Essary 4 were able to have such adventures such as Sea World and Disney in Orlando, a family wedding in South Carolina on the beach, a free trip to Branson, family memberships to Korban's favorite...the aquarium and zoo in Chattanooga, the state special needs conference and Midsouth autism conference.  It was a full year of exploring ourselves, pushing limits and most importantly learning how to better serve others.  From the Ronald McDonald House in Birmingham to food pantries to making Christmas possible to numerous families in Alcorn county the opportunity to serve is always plentiful as well.  Korban compliments a stranger in a waiting room and that strikes up a conversation about why both our families are in the clinic.  Opportunities to pray for and with nurses and other medical staff in the various locations we go for  Korban's health needs.  Selah willing to bless other kids with extra toys and gifts or taking supplies and volunteering at an animal shelter.  Melissa able to make connections with other struggling autism parents and help them to put some pieces together through the sharing of our own experiences.  I am proud of my crew and look forward to all the many experiences we will have together. 

Me and mine are no band-wagoners in any sort of fashion.  Not with the teams we support or the God we serve.  We stay active with regards to both and that's what is important about Red and Blue Through and Through.  The blood in my veins and with every breath I take I want to give it my all.  

Love God, love others, nothing else matters!

Oh yeah by the way...I guess it's my fault we lost...I left my cape at home.