Do you suppose they think we don’t realize that Mississippi State University began as Mississippi Agricultural & Mechanical? Do they think it’s a surprise to us that our history, our heritage is in agriculture? It’s who we are. Have they not noticed that we all ring COWBELLS at games? Are we ashamed of our agricultural roots? No! We are a land grant school with a foundational mission of service to our community. We grind for our State. We embrace our proud, honest, blue-collar, hard-working, dirt-under-the-fingernails culture and identity. Our football team trains every summer on “the farm,” about which Dak Prescott said, “It’s hot. It stinks. It smells like cows. It’s a farm.”
Mississippi State University is the University of the people of the State of Mississippi, and Mississippi has always been and is still a largely agricultural society. We should never allow anyone, especially other residents of Our State, to demean that. They like to eat, don’t they? The next time you are walking across the campus of some other school at an away game and some uppity jerk looks down from his ivory tower and calls you a redneck or tries to deride and taunt you with loud shouts of, “Mooooo,” or the like; remember Paul Harvey’s words from the following video, smile, stick your chest out proudly, ring your cowbell if you have one with you, and shout back in reply, “You danged right!”
In 1992, Coach Jackie Sherrill had our football team witness the “steering” of a longhorn bull on the practice field, in other words, to watch a bull be castrated (not coincidentally just prior to playing the Texas Longhorns). This was frowned upon by many, but perhaps those people didn’t understand that this is just a routine part of raising cattle for beef. Coach Sherrill said he allowed this because he thought it would be educational and motivational, but apologized after the 28-10 win. What’s the harm in a little cross-curriculum education for our student athletes if it also might help them turn up the juice for a big game?
Some of the most widely appreciated products of Mississippi State are our dairy offerings, particularly our cheese, especially the Edam cheese. Everyone loves our Mississippi State cheese. Even up at the School of Northern Aggression, there are fans of Mississippi State cheese. Where do you suppose the raw material used to make our famous ice cream and cheese come from? Right… Cows.
Even our most unique Mississippi State tradition, the cowbell, has its roots in our agrarian heritage as stewards of the land. Back in the 1930’s Mississippi A&M had not beaten those hoity-toity University boys in football in ten years. After ten years of losses and ties, the Bulldogs were aching for a win. Near the end of the game with the Bulldogs trailing and the outcome still uncertain, onto the field wandered a Jersey cow. The cow, of course, was escorted off the field, and the game concluded… With our boys in maroon victorious! The cow was immediately adopted as a symbol of victory and the power to overcome for the Bulldogs. After actually bringing the cow to all the games proved to be much too much trouble, students opted, instead, to just bring the cowbell. Thus began a new tradition. Now where, except at an agricultural college would a cow have wandered onto the football field during a game?
Our football team has an annual hay bale heaving competition. You may have recently seen video clips online of big Nick James breaking experienced hay tosser Kaleb Eulls’ two-year winning streak.
Kaleb Eulls and Nick James going for the championship. https://t.co/GbzBrgGDpL
— Michael Bonner (@MikeBBonner) August 18, 2014
The Veterinary School at Mississippi State also has a cow with a “window” in its side to enable the visualization and scientific study of the digestive process of a cow. Yes, a “holey” cow. I’m sure by now that most of you have seen either images or video of Dak Prescott, the arm of the Bulldogs, with his hand and arm inside the cow.
Of course, when this video hit the net, immediately umiss fans started in with their condescending jeers. To them, I can only say:
They, as usual, have no idea what is actually going on.
Dak Prescott, our quarterback, the face of our program, the leader of our team, the arm of the Bulldogs, had his arm, his entire arm, his throwing arm immersed — baptized, if you will — completely INSIDE
a cow. Let that sink in. The quarterback of the Bulldogs, the team from Mississippi State, a school that has, for eighty years, held the cowbell sacred as an object with the power to bring about victory because of its symbolic connection with the cow that originally brought good fortune and triumph at a time when we most earnestly needed it, has now completely plunged his throwing arm into a live cow. To me this is reminiscent of the great warrior hero Achilles being dipped into the River Styx, rendering him invincible.
Dak has now infused his arm with all the peculiarly and particularly Mississippi State mojo of… Cow Power!
Opponents should be be afraid… Very afraid. The road to Atlanta, to New York for the Heisman, to the championship playoff, and to the national title is bordered on both sides by lush green cow pastures and driven by the Power of the Cow! Holy Cow! Hail State!