Sideline View 03/26/20

By DALE MCKEE,

The COVID-19 pandemic is beginning its second week in Mississippi. During my life experiences I have seen storms Betsy, Camille, Fredric and Katrina come in and leave destruction that affected thousands of Mississippians. Those storms were brief but deadly. Our country survived the 9/11 attacks, which only made us a greater country.

What we are dealing with now is something that is very different. We are unsure as to its endurance. I am no expert on medical diseases, but I can see from the news that when doctors in Italy and probably other countries have to choose whom to save, we do not have a hoax but a true worldwide problem. The rest of the world is looking to us as they always do in times of trouble. They look for leaders they can depend on and America has provided that leadership for over 200 years. So what can you and I both collectively and as individuals do to solve this problem?

Together Everyone Achieves More 

Lets remember that you have to be a great teammate for the TEAM to be successful. Lets don’t whine and complain but give our best effort. We don’t cut corners. We don’t act selfishly but respect each other, and we don’t divide or destroy our great USA. We don’t trash the voices of leadership, we don’t embarrass the team, we don’t give up or give in. I hope I can count on you as a teammate. I -- and all Americans -- need you to win this battle. I would like to share one of my favorite quotes: “You are free to choose, but you are not free from the consequences of your choice.”

We are Americans, and as my son Brett (a former U.S. Marine) says, we can overcome anything life throws at us. “We’ve been doing it for a long time, and we are pretty good at it. Let’s be cautious, but don’t panic.”

Back to Sports

In recapping sports in Mississippi for this past week, all I can say is that there just is not a lot to say. I can tell you that Dak Prescott was franchised tagged by the Dallas Cowboys and will make at least $32 million next football season. Drew Brees signed a two-year contract with the New Orleans Saints that will earn him $50 million over the course of the next couple of seasons. The Saints also signed 49ers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders and also brought back Eagles defensive back Malcolm Jenkins. The sad news is that head coach Sean Payton has been tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.  Not necessarily Mississippi news, but NFC South news, Tampa Bay signed New England quarterback Tom Brady, so the Saints will have to face Brady twice a year. 

Jones College coach Missy Bilderback was named the head woman’s coach at Northwestern State in Louisiana. Bilderback, the daughter of longtime high school football coach Perry Wheat, won three state championships and was about to take her team for the fourth time to the National Junior College Basketball Tournament in Lubbock, Texas, until it was cancelled. She won 127 games in five years at Jones and won six state titles in 16 seasons at Presbyterian Christian High School in Hattiesburg. Her husband Chip has been the head football coach at Columbia High School for the last two seasons.

Odds & Ends 

Former Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy was named the head coach at UAB. 

The CBS Sports Network is airing 26 classic games from previous March Madness tournaments. One of interest to Mississippians is on Wednesday of this week at 9 a.m. as they will show the 1998 Valparaiso-Ole Miss game.