*Editor’s Note: This story was originally published in Oxford Stories
By Chloe Baker
Uploaded by Chloe Baker on 2018-11-12.
The van was packed with lawn chairs, tables, and Chick-fil-A chicken minis. The seatbelts were buckled. The Doddridge family and their neighbors were on the way to spend their Saturday in Oxford. After the hour drive from Olive Branch, the crew unloaded, setting up the tent in their spot in the Grove.
This has been a typical weekend for Aggie Doddridge since she was a small girl wearing a cheerleading uniform and bow. Both of her parents attended the University of Mississippi, making them what many would call a “die-hard” Ole Miss family. The family of four, along with close friends, spend hours each Saturday before football games eating, talking, and enjoying time together.
“Throughout the years, I’ve been able to see the significance tailgating has on a person,” said Doddridge. “I’ve been able to establish relationships I wouldn’t have been able to establish if I hadn’t come down here.”
Doddridge said meeting her parents’ friends from college and their children had a significant impact on her as a person.
She also recalled cheering on the Rebels and hearing the fight song, which always brings back great memories. Doddridge said these memories have been a large factor in her decision to enroll at the University of Mississippi.
“Being here as a student is just awesome because I’m able to not only live in the moment here and reminisce on those good times with my family, but I also get to live these times as a student with my family in the Grove,” she said.
Outside of football games, the Doddridge family visits Oxford “just to get away” and have fun, spending quality family time eating hummus at Volta. Depending on the season, the family attends Ole Miss baseball or basketball games.
Before deciding on Ole Miss, Doddridge visited one other campus. However, when she visited Ole Miss, she knew that was where she belonged.
“Everyone seems to possess such a genuine love for the university, and they just want to express that love to other future prospective students,” Doddridge said.