Alabama Misspells Mississippi on Tickets
In Alabama you spell Mississippi -- as pictured at Friends of the Program sports blog -- with only one p. Sadly this violates a sacrosanct educational mantra that also goes back generations in the South, applying the M-I-crooked letter-crooked letter-I-crooked letter-crooked letter-I humpback-humpback-I" spelling trick. (One that this writer has applied approximately 28 times while writing this column.)
The University of Alabama issued this official statement in light of the spelling error: "There was an unfortunate oversight during the editing process. That process is being thoroughly reviewed. We regret the error and we are working to prevent it from happening in the future."
Yep, even the Alabama athletic department cites "process" now.
But just when you think that Mississippi State deserves to be pretty disappointed about this lack of respect, you realize that the spelling of Mississippi is something that, sigh, even Mississippi State can't manage on a consistent basis. Click here for the evidence from last season's baseball stadium snafu. Sadly, State forgot one of the pesky four i's. Perhaps this is why the State athletic department declined comment when I asked them about the most recent misspelling on the tickets. (Also, a working theory, if your website doesn't include the three-digit area code, you don't win many games or get much national attention. Seriously, I had to look up the Starkville area code and so does anyone else calling State.)
No wonder the University of Mississippi chose to be known as Ole Miss. (A decision that presumably saved Alabama the ignominy of misspelling Mississippi twice since the Rebels are also on the home slate this year.) Also, credit where credit is due, Alabama correctly spelled San Jose State, Penn State, Florida, Georgia State and Auburn on its season tickets. As well as its own state name correctly seven times. On a 4th grade spelling test curve that probably merits a B. (This is also the part of the column where I should point out that Alabama fans will flood the comments with notes about how the university doesn't actually print the tickets. Fine, but it does read them, right? The only thing more embarrassing than educational idiocy is idiots who shift blame on the educational idiocy front.)
I think I speak for every Southerner when I say, thank God this error doesn't reinforce a preexisting stereotype about us.
Who knows, perhaps the University of Alabama had scheduled a refresher course on how to spell Mississippi for the first days of the spring 2010 semester -- you know, the days they canceled classes for the national championship game. That's the only explanation I can think of for how this happened.
Well, that, and the fact that Mississippi is just too damn hard to spell anyway. Honest question, what percentage of SEC football players could spell Mississippi correctly on their first chance? Fans? Better question, how many people noticed the misspelling on the tickets, but were too nervous to mention it because they weren't sure that it was actually misspelled and didn't want to risk the ridicule? On the bright side, at least the misspelling is being addressed now before the season starts. How much worse would it be if 100,000 Alabama fans showed up for the game with tickets in hand and no one even noticed?
To hell with, if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? It's time for the SEC's own philosophical debate: Does a misspelled word exist if it gets you in Bryant-Denny and no one notices the misspelling?
The misspelled ticket also raises an even more intriguing question: Has an actual ticket ever been bulletin board material before? Screw castrating a bull as Jackie Sherrill once did at State to get his team fired up, all Dan Mullen has to do is walk in front of his team and pin a ticket on the wall. "Boys," Mullen will say, "this is worse than spitting on your mommas."
And Mullen will be right. Except that his own university made the mistake last year on the baseball field. Which has to be like spitting on your momma and your little sister at the same time that roughnecks tip your cows.
Also, am I alone in thinking that somehow Nick Saban is going to find the person responsible and fire them? You expect this too, right? Right now Nick Saban is sitting in his dark office sketching out a process to figure out who is to blame for this mistake. Who knows, maybe Terrence Cody is hiding the extra p beneath his pendulous breasts.
In the meantime, just as a state representative in Alabama once introduced a bill demanding that pi be shortened to plain ole 3 because 3.14 was too complicated for students, maybe it's time to reexamine the age-old struggle that defines life beneath the Mason-Dixon line -- how to spell Mississippi. After all, we've already introduced new math, where the answers don't matter, isn't it time for new spelling, where you spell Mississippi like you feel like it should be spelled?
In the end, maybe this error doesn't matter at all. After all, both Mississipi State, the spelling on Alabama's season ticket, and Mississippi State have the same number of SEC titles since World War II.