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Keys to the Game: Don’t Lose the Light, Ole Miss Rebels

Photo by Joshua McCoy, Ole Miss Athletics
Photo by Joshua McCoy, Ole Miss Athletics

This week will have a different Keys to the Game. It won’t be about what the Rebels have lacked on the field or stats that Rebels have faltered on or playing the blame game and why things would have been different.

Instead, it’s going to target the desire within. Yes, it takes physical prowess to mold champions and build programs but it goes hand in hand with a sound mental state and heart of desire that goes with it.

Albert Schweitzer once said, “In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.”

Over the course of the last month, despite the wins, it seems that the Rebels’ flame has slowly dwindled. Not because of the desire to give it their all but rather because of the distraction by obstacles often come on the road to triumphs. These roadblocks come in many forms: the struggle can ignite their fire to be stronger or it can suffocate the brightness of the flame.

Each one of the Rebels was given the ability play football well, some earlier than others. Anyone who has ever been an athlete knows that moment when it happens, when the flame falters. I know I did.

One has this desire to be the best in all facets at whatever one has chosen. Yes, one can go through relentless hours of physical training to get there but the heart matters just as much. The heart is the fire that drives one to sacrifice and commit to not just oneself but to the coaches and to the team.

This week’s Keys to the Game is about finding that inner desire again as an individual player and as a part of this team. It’s about going back to the basics and keeping it simple and fun as a team. They should focus on not allowing themselves to be mentally blocked by weaknesses or faults. What comes next is rekindling the one fire that burns and yearns for success and the love of the game they play.

To steal a few lines from the late Michael Houser of Widespread Panic, “Can’t change the past wasn’t built to last…Can’t change the way the way it goes…Can’t change the way time rushes on.”

But it’s not too late for the Rebels to turn it around. It’s not just a small hope that Rebels may have a chance of a coveted title but rather the Rebels can restore some faith in all to a degree.

My readers know that I am not typical analyst or sportswriter when it comes to certain aspects. I want sports fans to take something away from what I write even if it doesn’t apply to sports but rather to life, too.

I have to be honest. This week has been tougher than normal for me. I lost a dear friend unexpectedly and it still hasn’t quite sunken in that he won’t be around. He was one of the few people who always believed that I would do something great in sports writing especially as a female. There were times when I contemplated giving up life in sports and going back to law school but this friend–this light named Hyatt Hall–always found a way to tell me not to give in. He instead would say, “Give ’em hell, Lee Belle.”

Even though he’s gone I know he’s looking down on me smiling especially this weekend. Hyatt was a University of Texas alum and he bled burnt orange, but I could almost bet he will have front row seat next to Bevo up in the sky with a cold one at hand cheering for the Rebels to take it to the Aggies on Saturday.

We have all lost a good light in this world, but we also must continue to live on because the show must go on. I may have lost one but I am so glad that I still have a few that believe that I might just be good at this sports writing gig!

As the Rebels take the field under the lights Saturday evening, the key for them is to find that inner light that sparked it all in the first place whatever it may be. If they can relight that then I promise y’all it will all come together like it did early on. If any team had the ability to make something happen it’s Ole Miss Rebels.

The Rebels have lost their direction but the time is now for us fans to stand behind them and help them light that passion of football again.

“You grow most in your areas of greatest strength. You will improve the most, be the most creative, be the most inquisitive, and bounce back the fastest in those areas where you have already shown some natural advantage over everyone else— your strengths. This doesn’t mean you should ignore your weaknesses. It just means you’ll grow most where you’re already strong.” —Marcus Buckingham, Now, Discover Your Strengths

Lee Ann Herring-jpgs-0601

Lee Ann Herring-Olvedo is a HottyToddy.com contributor, veteran SEC sports journalist and Brown University graduate. She loves good cigars, good games and a smooth glass of bourbon — not necessarily in that order. She can be reached at misskentuckyus2011@gmail.com.

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