Recently a friend of mine was diagnosed with a terrible illness. We are not giving up hope, but it will be a difficult road ahead. He’s a friend who has been a part of my life since law school, and we eat lunch about once a week. Our topics of conversation always revolve around SEC sports and whose turn it is to pay the bill — but mostly football and specifically State and Ole Miss. We both went to law school at Ole Miss, but our loyalties are with our undergrad schools, mine at MSU and his at Ole Miss.
We talk football like professionals or more like fanatics. We keep up with recruiting, depth charts, statistics, wins/losses and rumors. A newsworthy event about one school or the other never makes the paper before one of us has called, texted or emailed the other to brag or rub it in.
A couple of days ago when Mississippi State’s five star recruit decommited at the last minute and then committed to Ole Miss during the High School All Star Football Game, my normal reaction would have been frustration, anger or despair. Instead, it wasn’t. While watching, I looked down at my phone and thought of my good friend suffering with this illness and hoped that he was watching, because I knew the news would make him happy. I sent this text:
“Channing Ward to Ole Miss! I hope that makes you smile! Get better brother, I need you.”
I really didn’t care about losing our recruit at that moment. I cared more about my friend’s state of mind. You see, no matter what we think is so important in this moment of time, this short glimpse, this short vapor that we call life, it’s not.
Regardless of what the insurance tables or the doctors say, we don’t know the amount of time we have left. We are not promised tomorrow. I would give up all the recruits, wins and sports in the world to give my friend a chance at recovery, or at least peace in the time he has left.
I pray for another opportunity to talk football, politics and religion with my friend. But hopefully we’ll spend more time on the latter. It’s something we didn’t talk about much. Sort of something you avoid in some scenarios out of courtesy or etiquette. It’s time missed I now regret and hope to get the chance to make it right.
I continue to pray for my friend, his family and those treating him. He recently told me in a text that he “was gonna beat this!” My friend, I am rooting for you harder than anything I ever have before. The Rebels may not be the biggest, the strongest, the fastest or the best, but you can always depend on them to never give up and play with heart. I see those qualities in you, my friend, and we are all in your corner. Get well soon.