Memphis Athletics

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1) There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heaven:<br>
2) A time to be born and a time to die,… <br>4) a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,Ecclesiastes 3: 1, 2, 4

We at 4Memphis join our city in celebrating the current success of the University of Memphis and its Athletic programs. I have lived in Memphis all my life. I attended what was called Memphis State, a name that my mind still goes to first when people ask me where I went to school. I grew up attending basketball games at the Coliseum and watched my share of frustrating football games at the Liberty Bowl in the ‘80s and ‘90s. I must admit there was a time that I understood why people thought that Memphis should give up its football program to support the basketball program. But how wrong was that thought process as the 4Memphis cover celebrates the Tigers’ recent trip to the Cotton Bowl and the success of ESPN GameDay.

The message of the Memphis Athletic program echoes a message taught to me by my uncle - never give up on people and never quit. My uncle, Richard Walker, passed away this week, and I write my letter having just returned from his funeral. He battled cancer bravely, fighting to stay with those he loved, who were not ready to let him go.

I draw inspiration for this letter from Ecclesiastes, because not only does it adequately reflect how I feel today, but I think it also properly reflects the human condition of everybody we interact with daily. In our daily activities, we will interact with people who are celebrating a new job, birth of a baby, or who are simply delighted over a kind word from a stranger. The list of things that bring us joy is endless. At the same time, our paths will cross others who may have recently suffered a great loss or disappointment. They may simply be going to work every day with no end to the problems they face. The point is that a good day for you may intersect with a bad day for your neighbor. As Solomon promises in Ecclesiastes, just wait a day or two, and the situation will reverse.

I attended the Cotton Bowl and planned on writing a letter rejoicing in the success of Memphis Athletics. There were thousands of Memphians there celebrating, and yes - there was another color in the stadium, but all I could see was blue. The football program exists because the school never gave up on it. The city never quit supporting it, so generations to come will share what I experienced as a child - the joy of attending Tiger football games at the Liberty Bowl. It is these common experiences passed down that unites generations and pulls the city together. The common experience of celebration and yes, even heartbreak at times. I say it again, my uncle taught me never to give up on people and to never quit.

Ecclesiastes 3:4, "a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,” a passage from scripture that we are called to embrace daily and, if we are successful interacting with our fellow Memphians, remembering our shared human condition, we will live in a city that is not only known for its current Athletic programs, but we would also be known as a City of Grace.

Seek the Peace and Prosperity of Memphis

Jim Walker

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