Why can’t we be friends?

By CAMAL PETRO,

I’ve been scrolling through Twitter a lot lately. Well, I’m always on Twitter, but that’s beside the point. Back to my point – I’ve seen a lot of Mississippi State fans happy, opposing fans bitter and a few fans of Mississippi athletics who might have an allegiance to an in-state team not named Mississippi State but still rooting for those Bulldogs in Omaha.

I’ve even seen some Mississippi State fans upset of the support their team is getting from Ole Miss and Southern Miss fans. That’s some next-level stuff right there.

What doesn’t help and just adds fuel to the fire is Mississippi State’s official baseball Twitter account. After a Southern Miss fan posted how he’s not rooting for Mississippi State, State’s baseball account posted a photo making fun of Southern Miss and its baseball team.

Set a good example and maybe we can all get along… eventually.

On Twitter, and like I said on last week’s Podcast, Mississippi State fans are obviously happy about the Bulldogs’ run in the College World Series. Who wouldn’t be? It’s literally bananas what they’re doing. Whichever fanbase it is, some keyboard warriors are taking it a little too far with jabs directed at Mississippi State.

Like the title of this column reads, why can’t we be friends? The rest of the country already looks down on our state, so shouldn’t we all stick together? I mean, that’s what makes sense to me. Sometimes it feels like it’s Mississippi versus the world, but when it comes to sports, why do we hate each other’s success?

I get it, it’s sports. It’s competitive. We want to beat each other, and to an extent, we want to see our rivals lose. However, I think things should change when there’s a national stage.

To be a little more transparent, and I haven’t hidden from this, but growing up an Ole Miss fan, I never wanted to see the other SEC teams do well. I never subscribed to that notion. In football, I wanted every team to go 0-12 and the Rebels to be 12-0.

Things have changed for me, though. I live in Hattiesburg and cover Southern Miss, and while I don’t actively root for USM, which I never have, I’m a little more invested in the athletic department than any other team. I know the coaches, I know the players, so yes, I want to see them do well. Honestly, I just want the best storyline to play out.

Right now, that storyline is Mississippi State baseball being one win away from the College World Series Final. That’s freakin’ awesome, especially being one strike away from elimination in the Regionals.

Somehow over the past couple of years, I started rooting for the State of Mississippi rather than just one team, and I have to say, it’s pretty nice. I don’t encourage this line of thinking, because I do sometimes wish I can be a fan, but it comes with this line of work.

I’m able to look past the hostility, but some are not. There’s not going to be a drastic change in some fans disliking other in-state teams, but that’s not what I’m saying. When we have a team, whether it’s Ole Miss, Southern Miss or Mississippi State, on a national stage, we should all rally behind that team. Cheer for the letters on the front of the jerseys.

Follow Camal on Twitter via @PineBeltSPORTS or email him: camal@PineBeltSPORTS.com

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