Checking in with Britain's biggest Tulane fan after USC gets rolled by the Green Wave
A Tulane-centric football story about a baseball-loving British man that still somehow plays to an Oregon-leaning audience because it involves USC losing.
Try telling Joey Mellows three years ago that he’d spend his first days of 2023 jumping from bar to bar in Edmonton, Canada looking for the Tulane game on the TV and he’d probably tell you you were off your trolley.
Then again, the 38-year-old British man might have thought the same about himself early Monday morning when one of those bars he stopped by was filled with Liverpool supporters tuned into the Premier League.
Before moving any further: You don’t know Mellows, but a fair amount of baseball fans on the Internet do thanks to his 2019 voyage across America’s ballparks. That year Mellows quit his job as a teacher in South Korea and went to 148 major, minor and independent league baseball games. Mellows took with him countless memories from the trip, a fair amount of debt and also a lifetime affinity for Tulane football.
Why? Well, because on a September afternoon in Minnesota during his 2019 tour, Mellows decided he needed to engrain himself a little bit more in American culture.
Mellows spun a wheel. The wheel landed on Tulane. And he’s been riding the Green Wave ever since. Mellows has Tulane jerseys. He refers to the team as “We,” attended the 2019 homecoming back in New Orleans and made sure his dad has a cap and polo shirt to wear around golf courses in the UK. At Mellows’ home in Korea, he’s often up at 6 a.m. to watch a team that flipped a 2-10 2021 season into a 12-2 2022 season capped by Monday’s come-from-behind win over USC in the Cotton Bowl.
Most of the time he has to find a pirated stream.
Which brings us back to the start: Mellows is on a layover in Canada. He went home to the UK for the holidays and figured catching an NHL game and some cold air would break up the trip on the way back to Korea. But the game wasn’t on at any of the bars around him. And went he caught a cab back to his hotel to check if it was on cable, all he could find was the Citrus Bowl.
“It was the Purdue game,” Mellows said. “Is there a Purdue game?”
In the Tulane game, the Green Wave erased a 45-30 deficit with 4:10 left in the fourth quarter to upset the No. 8 USC Trojans. And when talking shortly after the victory, Mellows was a little embarrassed he was still searching for the highlights.
“I went out yesterday for lunch and they had NFL on about seven different channels. So I kind of naively thought, ‘Oh, maybe they've got like seven American football channels in Canada,’” he said. “Then I get to the only place that was open and there's just Liverpool fans everywhere which was quite strange having just flown from England.”
So we chatted on the phone for about 15 minutes. I told him about Tulane’s comeback and explained that somehow a Tulane-centric story about a British man still plays for an Oregon-heavy audience because it involves an embarrassing USC loss. I thanked him for his time and he did the same.
“I’m on my own here and haven’t talked to anyone in feels like ages,” he said.
After we hung up, I wondered what he would do with the rest of his afternoon.
Then he tweeted:
— Tyson Alger
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