House Divided: Duncan and Amber Gray

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by Kristina Domitrovich // photos by Lindsay Pace Daffron and contributing

Since childhood, Duncan and Amber Gray have known which school they supported—Duncan, Ole Miss, and Amber, State. But along the way, lines were blurred.

Duncan grew up in Oxford, but attended the University of Alabama for his undergraduate, graduating in 2002. For his masters, this prodigal son returned to Oxford to don red and blue once more.

Amber, on the other hand, grew up in Meridian as a Mississippi State fan. She earned her undergraduate from MSU in 2002, and wore a State shirt her first day on Ole Miss’ campus for graduate school.

After they finished their undergraduates, they both began classes for a Masters of Fine Arts in Teaching through Ole Miss’ Mississippi Teacher Corp program, where the two met. Unaware of the future they would share, the first time they met was fairly mundane. However, one thing still stands out to Amber, “I do remember he was wearing an Ole Miss hat.” Over the next few years, their friends in the program teased Amber and Duncan about how they should date, but Duncan would jokingly reply, “No, she went to State.”

The two graduated in 2004, and were married in 2005. In the beginning of their marriage, they were in Clinton. Once they had their eldest, Harper, they decided to put down roots in Oxford. Later, they would welcome Sadie and Miller into their family as well.

Duncan is now the assistant principal at Oxford Intermediate School, and Amber is a fitness trainer and personal coach at the YMCA.

Fourteen years of marriage and three kids later, they have made their home in Oxford. It’s a loving home; but it is divided. 

 

Q&A with Duncan and Amber Gray

 

What were your undergraduate experiences like?

Duncan: “I was trying to turn myself into a Tide fan… So we’re really kind of divided three ways in this household. Half of the SEC West is covered in this house.”

Amber: “I attended, in my time there, every single football game except for one, which killed me…. I had to work, and I missed it—I had this whole streak. I went to every game.”

 What does tailgating look like for your household?

Duncan: “It’s pretty standard. It’s an Ole Miss tailgate.”

Amber: “I will cheer for (Ole Miss) when they’re not playing State, but it did not start out that way. I’m telling you, I have come a long way.”

 Since you live in Oxford, do you try to split the season pretty fairly and go down to tailgate in Starkville?

Amber: “It’s not fair at all. There’s nothing fair about it. We’ve been to far more Ole Miss games in the last 14 years of our marriage. But again, it is convenient (because we’re in Oxford).” 

How do your families and friends interact with you, especially on the Egg Bowl?

Amber: “Our wedding was the day of the Egg Bowl in 2005… So some people came in late or left early, or didn’t come at all. We listened to (the game) as we were dressing—he had it on with the groomsmen and I had it on with my bridesmaids… State won, and all the girls yelled down the hall, rubbing it in. We kind of jokingly said, ‘Whoever wins the Egg Bowl gets to be the boss for the rest of the year.'”

Duncan: “There is kind of that, ‘You’re our guest, we’re family, you’re friends,’ but there’s that underlying tension that it’s still the Egg Bowl. One of us is just going to be brewing as it’s going on.”

 How did the kids pick a side?

Amber: “My oldest just decided one day… she was going to be for Ole Miss, and that was that… The middle child, in classic middle child (fashion) would do, “One year I’m going to wear maroon, and the next year I’m going to wear Ole Miss colors.” And at some point, she decided she was going to be a State fan because she likes getting the goat of people when she wears State attire. And the little one just wants to be like (his dad).”

 

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