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Game On

No blog entry last night. If I were a journalist, I’d be fired. If I were a journalist, I’d be a better writer.
Last night (Thursday) was a long night with a great deal of uncertainty. We got back to the house at about midnight and Liza was back on campus for a 5:00 a.m. interview with Fox and Friends Friday morning. The exhilaration associated with any long-planned, important event is a fleeting feeling. It’s hard to bask in the glow of a great event while sweating every detail until the event is over.
Yesterday (Thursday)
Much of the morning was spent as a continuation of the night before. What is our response to every possible scenario? As the host of the debate, Ole Miss is really in the same position as a wedding planner. We can plan the most grand event in the world, but we can’t make the bride and groom exchange vows. And if they don’t get married, it’s not a poor reflection on the wedding planner, it’s the couple’s fault. You keep telling yourself stuff like that, but in the back of your mind you’re trying to measure the institutional and personal embarrassment of no debate. Would we get the benefit of national sympathy or would this be one more thing that would bring Mississippi shame – through not fault of our own?
It’s difficult not to have those thoughts – so you have them – and then you move on to something you can control. Like our messages. Assembled in the war room were all the people needed to pull the trigger on our statements to the public and plan our internal strategy. There were no additional briefings needed, no C-level white papers for review. Things were happening too fast and the stakes were too high for internal filters.
We would develop our messages and stick to them – and we did. We executed multiple media events throughout the day – none of which had anything to do with whether or not there would be a debate. From “Racial Reconciliation” to “How to Win the Youth Vote,” we executed media events that had been on the schedule and in the works for months.
At 9:00 p.m., we turned out the office lights and left the building with no idea if we would have a debate.
I will have to continue this next week. The other reason why Liza nor I wrote anything yesterday is because Liza’s father, Rip Cirlot, passed away Thursday night. He was a great man who knew his time was short. Liza honored his wish from earlier in the week, that she complete the project that had been a great source of pride for him. We have completed this project. We will drive to Moss Point in the morning and celebrate his life with our family and friends Sunday.