Louie Armstrong said it best.
‘I see trees of green, red roses too, I see them bloom for me and you, and I think to myself what a wonderful world.
I see skies of blue, and clouds of white, the bright blessed day, the dark sacred night, and I think to myself, what a wonderful world.’
When I hear that song on the radio or on television or even social media it takes me back to a simpler, gentler time when patience, understanding and love were in greater supply.
My oh my how the world has changed in my 57 years. Don’t get me wrong, there have always been naysayers and negative people and, goodness knows, I have blown my top many times in my lifetime and said and done things I’m not proud of.
As a teenager I still remember my stepfather yelling at the umpire or the coach when he thought they had done or said something wrong to a player, especially me. There were other parents doing the same thing. But back in those days it was a rare sight to see a parent get tossed from a ballgame because they started a fight or heated argument that crossed the line of ethics.
Fast forward to present day.
In 2020 squabbling parents, and this goes for some kids as well, are ejected from ballparks and gyms all across the country at an alarming rate for simply being immature and failing to control their emotions.
Over the past 10 to 20 years this behavior has bled over to social media. We live in a time where anything we say or do in public, and sometimes even in private, is possible fodder for Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok and all other forms of social media in existence. How many times have we heard someone say, “you better watch what you say or do, you might just end up on the news?”
Which brings me to my primary topic … how do we represent ourselves overall and are we positive, kind-hearted people or those who would stir mischief and discontent?
I’ll be as honest as I know how … if I’m a high school athlete deciding which college to sign with in 2021 I’d have a difficult time dealing with all the harsh comments made by so-called fans of these schools. Has anyone been on the Ole Miss or Mississippi State links on Facebook recently? It’s becoming almost embarrassing many of the things that appear on the screen.
First it’s a Rebel fan blasting quarterback Matt Corral because he threw five interceptions against LSU last week.
“He blew that game for us and he needs to be benched,” one person posted.
Yes, he threw five picks but he also rallied his team from 37-21 down to a 48-40 lead in a rainstorm at Tiger Stadium. Ole Miss ultimately lost 53-48 despite all the turnovers.
Allow me to speak from experience. As a former athlete I can assure everyone that when a player makes a mistake such as a fumble or an interception they feel bad enough without ‘grown-up’ people bashing them on social media like it was a stoning.
When New Orleans Saints defender Alex Anzalone blew a sure touchdown after a Kansas City fumble on a punt return mere seconds before halftime by letting the loose ball get away and bounce swiftly out of the back of the end zone for a safety, instead of a touchdown, do we truly believe that pleased him and made him happy?
He was devastated. The look on his face was proof as he left the field at halftime heading to the locker room. The announcers even said as much.
Yet many still blame him for the loss because the Saints only fell by three points to the Chiefs. A touchdown there would have meant four more points.
I did not, by my on personal choice, log on to the Saints social media page because I was certain I didn’t want to read most of what was on there.
Bulldog fans have been just as critical this year of their team and its new head coach. I believe that stems mostly from setting the bar too high from the beginning because of the kind of high-scoring history Leach’s teams have had and the early road win over then No. 3 LSU.
Things have really changed since then.
Referring back to Ole Miss social media, I didn’t even mention the lashing the Rebels defense has taken this year. At least State did have a really good defense. In fact, I’ve heard many say that if we could pair Ole Miss’ offense with Mississippi State’s defense that team would win the SEC.
Sorry Alabama fans, just saying.
Having said all this I would challenge those who are critical and purely negative when their particular team isn’t playing and winning the way we’d like them to: stop, take a deep breathe, chill out and put yourself in the place of those being criticized. Is that how we would want people to treat us if the shoe were on the other foot? If we were a high school athlete deciding on a college to play for would all the negative commentary made by that school’s fans have an affect on our decision. Would we want our kids attending a school where the fans are constantly critical of them?
There’s another older song, a reggae classic originally penned and recorded by Bob Marley and the Whalers, and later covered and reborn by Bobby McFerrin in the 1980’s, that we would be wise to heed the words of.
‘Here’s a little song I wrote, you might want to sing it note for note, don’t worry be happy.
In every life we have some trouble but when you worry you make it double don’t worry, be happy.
Cause when you’re worried your face will frown, and that will bring everybody down, don’t worry, be happy.’
My Christmas wish this year is that a spirit of forgiveness and rebirth of brotherhood be our goal. Make it a goal, if it’s not already one, to make each day a good one and to not be part of the problem, but instead be a part of the solution.
Merry Christmas to everyone and I hope to see you at a sporting event in the near future.
Til next time…