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Saturdays are just not the same without football

Let’s talk some football. My fall Saturday routine is in shambles.

Perhaps my favorite time of year is fall, not for the cooler temperatures and turning leaves. We don’t have that here.

It’s my favorite time because of college football. In my opinion, high school football and college football are the purest form of the sport, and I am a devotee.

I was happy to discover recently my friend from my South Natchez days, Leah Ann Holtslander Peavey, feels the same way.

Leah Ann is the wife of Brookhaven High School football coach Tucker Peavey. Leah Ann was a cheerleader at South Natchez, was an excellent athlete herself, regularly lighting up the basketball court. She was also a brilliant student.

I loved sports, too, from a young age. My daddy, Jim Griffey, came to Natchez to play for the Natchez Indians. I was my brother Bubba’s biggest fan, whether he was pitching in a Dixie Youth baseball game, playing basketball at Montebello or playing football, basketball or baseball at South Natchez.

Leah Ann went to college at Co-Lin in Wesson. I think that’s where she met Tucker, but I’m not certain about that. She was a science major at Co-Lin. I went to school at Co-Lin in Wesson my sophomore year before heading down to Lafayette, Louisiana, to finish my degree.

While at Co-Lin, Leah Ann tutored me in chemistry, bless her heart.

She went on to earn her degree in polymer science at the University of Southern Mississippi. She teaches polymer science to students in Brookhaven.

This week on her Facebook page, Leah Ann shared how much she misses her Saturday morning routine, which includes drinking coffee and watching College Game Day.

Me, too! Just seeing her post and thinking about our current situation made me want to cry.

The perfect Saturday for me is waking up, fixing coffee and watching College Game Day from wherever in the country it is broadcasting. The show does such a fantastic job of getting football fans ready for the day’s competition.

Most of my Saturdays for more years than I can count have consisted of college football from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. I love every minute of it. I usually make a big pot of vegetable soup or beans and a pan of cornbread.

That, for me, is the perfect Saturday.

That is, until this year.

So much is in limbo. Area residents who are season ticket holders at LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and USM this year have no idea if they are going to get in to see the games, or not. They don’t know if they are going to participate in a lottery system to be able to get into a game, or what.

Alcorn State fans have some answers, at least, since the SWAC has postponed all football until the spring. That was a good move.

The lack of information coming out or our area universities is not really surprising. I think they aren’t sharing more because they don’t know much yet. It’s still up in the air as to whether any of them will even play.

Football brings us together. Despite the fact that we cheer for different teams, football unites us. Selfishly, I want football. However, as much as I love the game, it’s not worth dying over.

If we have to skip the season so football players and fans don’t take the virus home to their vulnerable friends and family members, that’s what we need to do.

I’ve never lived in a time that required so much patience — something that isn’t my strong suit — or understanding or empathy or kindness or love.

Here’s hoping the good Lord strengthens us all to display more of those qualities with each other, and that these are just temporary times and not our new normal.

Jan Griffey is general manager of The Daily Leader and The Natchez Democrat. You may reach her at 601-445-3627 or by emailing jan.griffey@natchezdemocrat.com.