January 7, 2016. In a few hours, almost 10,000 people will be lining up, anxious to get just a glimpse of the arena. We will scan our tickets and rush through security because we are so excited about this new place. There will be ooh’s and ahh’s and people aimlessly wandering all over. And there will be many people that stop in the middle of the walkway and look up with awe, mouths gaping at the size. They will get out their phones and take pictures of the largest Jumbotron in the SEC. There will be countless snapchats documenting the unveiling of the $96.5M arena.
Yes, we know how cool it is.
Approximately five minutes before tip I will walk out on the court with the color guard and sing the National Anthem, as I’ve done many times before in the Tad Pad, but for the first time in the Pavilion. What an exciting moment it will be, for me and my family and for all of Ole Miss, to be apart of this awesome moment in history. And I’m grateful for the opportunity.
An Oxford native was the last one to hit a shot in the Tad Pad. An Oxford (and Ole Miss) native will be the first one to open the Pavilion. It is a special day, my friends.
The Pavilion offers a fresh start. A possibility to distance ourselves just enough from the past to not be dwelling on it, but to still be just a few hundred yards away from the site of so many fond memories. Today is just the first of many games to be played here. We will make new memories in this building, separate from the Tad Pad, but with the same amount of love.
Many future generations will come through here and make their own memories one day. Soon the Pavilion will have a nickname of its own, hopefully just as deserving as that of the Tad Pad (or should I say Sad Pad).
This is the day we will tell the next generation about. We will say we were there to see the first game at the Pavilion. We were there to witness history being made.
T-minus 3 hours. Are YOU ready?! ❤️🏀💙