Thursday, October 31, 2013
Examples of unity
• One of the things I’ve preached in my personal columns over the years is unity.
It’s perhaps the most important ingredient that can carry any group forward – from a church, to an athletic team to a community.
But sometimes just covering the news preaches the message much better.
Last week’s front page story and accompanying photos headlined “Carrying the Cross – Students unite for journey in county” garnered more positive comments than this editor has received in some time.
Readers particularly liked the front page photo of a student from Holly Springs High School and a student from Marshall Academy walking along Highway 4 together – taking their turn with the cross. The bus behind was also filled with high school students from the two schools – part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
The trek across Marshall County was a part of Mississippi Glowing for Christ, which began August 4 and concluded this past Saturday at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Jackson.
Students from H.W. Byers, Potts Camp and Byhalia also joined in the Mississippi Glowing for Christ walk in the county, as did teachers, administrators and other community members.
So often our children can teach us valuable lessons.
In this instance, they came together to demonstrate unity in Christ across racial and demominational lines.
And most likely the smiles the students enjoyed together on the recent Thursday and Friday will spread to new and lasting friendships.
Teachers, students and administrators summed the experience up in a few words – “It was wonderful.”
• Speaking of unity, you may have heard last week about Nick Saban, head coach of the Alabama football team, urging fans, particularly the students, to give his team 60 minutes of support by staying in the seats and cheering for four quarters (15 minutes each).
During some recent blowout wins for the Tide, the stadium was pretty empty in the second half. Some student organizations got chastised, even by the administration, when their reserved seating sections were stripped from them for last week’s game versus Tennessee.
Perhaps the Tide students are spoiled by success. They need to look to a Mississippi university and learn a valuable lesson of their own.
The University of Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles, where my daughter recently graduated and my son is a sophomore, are suffering through another winless season. In fact, USM has now lost 19 straight football games.
But last week during homecoming, the Southern Miss student body defined school spirit as well as I’ve ever seen it defined.
After a quick announcement by head coach Todd Monken, the team was greeted on the practice field by about 1,000 chanting students, who surrounded the Eagles for words of encouragement and cheers.
USM then lost 55-14 to North Texas on October 26 – another discouraging Saturday for the players, the coaches, the university, the fans.
But I believe the show of support by the student body last week for a struggling football program will continue to serve as inspiration as the Eagles keep battling to turn things around.
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