Unless you haven’t been on Twitter or Facebook, watched the news, read a newspaper, talked to another human or stepped outside, you know how very, very cold it is outside.
So cold. As in, it was a few degrees warmer in Fairbanks, Alaska last night than it was across most of Mississippi.
When freezing weather like this hits, I can’t imagine I’m alone in daydreaming of vacations in scenic and typically-warm locales. In fact, I caught myself reading up on the Florida keys as I waited for tip-off of a basketball game over the weekend.
Such dream trips have varying levels of reality, but then I started thinking: there are some trips that would make some sense.
Loading up the all-sport schedule on HailState.com, I found 10 destinations and journeys coinciding with Mississippi State sports, the exact chances Bulldog fans need to visit somewhere new and pretty while cheering on their favorite team.
I declined to include road trips to SEC schools/towns as those are ones we’re all more familiar with, and I also left out postseason destinations, though there are plenty of those that would be fun, too.
So, for the traveling types, these are some potential vacations over the next few months, listed in chronological order.
New York, New York – On February 7th (Friday) and 8th (Saturday), MSU’s track and field team will participate in the New Balance Invitational. There a few opportunities on this list to see State’s men’s and women’s programs (two of the top one sin the country) and the Big Apple is a fine way to start it off. http://www.newyork.com
Boca Raton, Florida – Situated just north of Miami, this small(ish) beach community will host the Florida Atlantic Strike Out Cancer Softball Tournament on February 13-15, with Vann Stuedeman’s softball Bulldogs as one of the headliners. What better way to say “I love you” on Valentine’s Day than a trip to the warm sand and waters of the Atlantic Ocean? http://www.ci.boca-raton.fl.us
New Orleans, Louisiana – NOLA, baby! Most of us in Mississippi have made the quick trip to the Crescent City, but not often has that journey included MSU athletics. On February 23-25, the high-flying and upwardly-mobile women’s golf team will be participating in the Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate, a perfect excuse to visit other-worldly New Orleans for some of the south’s best food and people watching. http://www.neworleansonline.com
Tucson, Arizona – Sometimes referred to as “The Old Pueblo,” Tucson is A) A place unlike any in the southeast and B) Home to the University of Arizona, who will be hosting a baseball tournament March 7-9. As you would guess, John Cohen’s Bulldogs will be one of three teams participating. http://www.visittucson.org
Honolulu, Hawaii – Giving track and field a strong run for Most Scenic Road Schedule, Coach Ginger Brown-Lemm’s women’s golf team will be participating in the Dr. Donnis Thompson Invitational on March 12-14. The rise of her program hints at Brown-Lemm’s smarts. The scheduling of this trip proves it outright. http://www.gohawaii.com/oahu/regions-neighborhoods/honolulu
Atlanta, Georgia – Perhaps because it’s close by, we tend to forget how much there is going on in Atlanta outside of traffic jams. In addition to the SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament beginning March 12, The A is also home to the Georgia Aquarium and the Coca-Cola factory, among much else. The trip is made doubly-convenient if you hop over to Athens afterward, where both baseball and softball play weekend series at Georgia March 14-16. http://www.atlanta.com
Austin, Texas – If you’ve never been to Austin, then you and I have that in common. But everything anyone says is how fun and unique a city it is, with tons of food, live music and a variety of people and cultures cohesively clashing. March 26-29, the track and field team will be competing in the Texas Relays, so here’s an excuse to check out the weird city. http://www.austintexas.org/visit/
West Point, Mississippi – OK, this one may seem strange, but no matter how much of a golf fan anyone is (or isn’t), Old Waverly Golf Club is worth visiting at least once. It’s one of the prettiest courses in the south and is home to good food, a mansion, a rose garden and a 38-acre lake stocked for fishing. Oh, and most importantly, the men’s golf team hosts the Old Waverly Collegiate Championship on April 8. http://www.oldwaverly.com
Walnut, California – Just outside of Los Angeles, Walnut is actually similar in size to Starkville and has been repeatedly named one of the country’s best small towns. One of Walnut’s premiere events is actually the cause for MSU’s visit, the Mt. SAC Relays, which the Bulldog track and field team will be participating in on April 17-19. http://www.ci.walnut.ca.us
St. Simon’s Island, Georgia – The only destination on MSU’s spring schedule with the word “Island” in it, the home of the SEC Men’s Golf Championships on April 25-27 boasts south Georgia beaches, scenic golf courses, fishing, biking and fine dining. Whoever Simon is, surely this island was his reward for being such a Saint. http://www.explorestsimonsisland.com