HYDR . . . Heavens Yes, We Care

As a part of the Ole Miss Family, I’m compelled to write the following words in light of recent news about the Nkemdiche brothers.  Robert Nkemdiche and his brother Denzel Nkemdiche need us.  They deserve a chance to become great men in life as they are great players on the football field.

We’ve heard the news . . . as well continued inquiry, speculation, criticism, condemnation, or projections for their future? Should we be concerned about more than ‘eligibility’ or ‘projected values’ to the NFL?

Let’s face it!   As a part of the Ole Miss family, these two need our compassion and genuine caring concern!  They need our prayers, as do their parents, as they face these personal failures.  They need real friends, not mere fans who only desire to exploit their talents, notoriety or favor.  And they need people who understand the vulnerabilities of youthfulness, the sometimes youthful improprieties, or scathing public sins that bring shame open their families and themselves.

Their challenge now is to learn how  to rise up to face real life challenges and struggles to live wholesome, contributing lives.  As  ‘stars’ on the football team, it is clear they have mastered football.  Now, to be ‘stars’ in life, they will need room to make their mistakes and time to correct them without so much scorn from us or the public.  They need mercy from us and those who have cheered them on, to deal with the harsh realities of life off of the field of play.

I’m pulling for these two young men to make it and I am praying that the same focus and intensity with which they’ve played the game will now be applied to this struggle to rebuild their self-esteem and restore their confidence. But like so many of us who’ve lived longer and have been given opportunities to rehabilitate, regroup, or be restored, these two deserve to be given the same.  Especially those of us who have enjoyed the ride in this new season of Ole Miss Football.

HYWC  . . .Heaven’s Yes, We Care

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INTERNET ANONYMITY AND THE GAME

The Ole Miss loss at LSU this past Saturday night has raised deep feelings of heartbreak, anger, frustration among the fan base and great glee among outsiders of its followers.  It was to be expected with all of the high hopes that have been generated by an unprecedented season and a shock for those who do not wish the team or institution well!

In light of some of the written responses posted over various internet mediums, it doesn’t seem to matter which side you’re on when reading the posts of the anonymous (not named or identified; made or done by someone unknown; of unknown authorship or origin)!  Many are enraged and don’t mind expressing it while others are so happy they cannot contain their overwhelming joy at the loss.  Of course, people have a right to their feelings and the right to express them!

The cover of anonymity seems, however, to give people an opportunity for boldness to be insulting, rude, challenging, or even offensive in their posts to complete strangers.  People in authority or people that post either their joy or sorrow are approached by usernames that are protected by passwords and other means.  Their profiles, pictures, or real identity are hidden away and one has to be really computer savvy to chase down these culprits of insult and rage.  And many times, very decent, honorable people are tempted to dignify these rants with their own comments in return (big mistake).

It’s not just an Ole Miss game that does that to us!  Most any post of a political, religious or social nature brings out the worst of humanity with a strength to criticize, critique, castigate, ridicule, assassinate, or destroy the posts’ authors or an entire genre, group, following etc with all the hate that can be mustered.  And it is much of the time done under the shadow of anonymity.

O, I understand that it is legal to say what you want to say about most any topic!  But I wonder if it is in the best interest of a nation and its sense of unity and dignity for us to tear at each other under the covering of darkness of anonymity?  Does it serve a good purpose to undermine our neighbors or total strangers?  And worse, what does it say about us individually that we can spew such vehemence, rage, hate, or disgust from within ourselves?

James the Apostle advises us to bridle our tongues (James 1:26 NKJV), suggesting that it reveals what our hearts consist of, its vanity and self-deception.  Perhaps his thought could be applied to our internet interactions under the shroud of anonymity to teach us about our fingers over the keyboard or touch screens of our cell phones.  They have the same effect of uncontrollable tongues that spread the mongering cries of ill will and ugliness among people and deceive us of our own vanity, self-righteousness and deception.

There was a time when we could play our games in a friendly manner with every desire to win without such rage being expressed during or after the game.  Foes were friends during the week and enemies for 60 minutes.  And it was over afterward with only the emotions of gladness for the winning team and disappointment for the losers.  Political positions have always challenged the opposing side with an eye upon compromise, collaboration and cooperation!  That too is a thing of the past.  Social order has usually been maintained by constraint, dialogue, and a desire for amiable relations and peace.  Not anymore!

It’s a whole new game today and one better be careful in the parking lot or under the cover of anonymity over the internet!  You may be attacked by a strain of hatred thrust at you through the powers of typed anonymous messages designed to destroy you for only stating your case or emotion about an event.  It’s a whole new game today!

Well, the LSU game is over!  My team lost and I’m unhappy about it!  But, I think I will stop now!  I’m going back to my anonymity!