Thursday, October 23, 2014

My Rant on Mississippi State and Why Cancer is Not Ranked in the Top 25

First off two facts:

1. Mississippi State is number 1 in the AP Top 25 Football Poll for the first time in history.

2. September was blood cancer awareness month.

Now my rant:

Mississippi State has been and continues to be very dear and close to my heart.  I was born and raised loving MSU and being at MSU.  It sadly took all the way to 2014 for me to get a degree from MSU.  I finished a MBA in May.  You can check out my story about becoming an official bulldog here:


So over the past few weeks MSU has truly been playing incredible football.  So many firsts in MSU's history of football.  State has beaten 3-top 10 schools in four weeks and 3 consecutive games.  State hosted College Gameday for the Auburn game.  Lee Corso put on Bully's headgear for the first time and Bully became the 50th headgear Corso has selected.  We broke the attendance record at Davis Wade Stadium this past saturday and I got drenched in the process.  We have a true Heisman quality quarterback in Dak Prescott, who has an incredible story.  All of these are firsts, and yet there are things that we still have that are going strong.  We have a great running game of days of old, we have as tough a defensive line as ever, we have cowbells in the stands, and we have a great atmosphere in Starkville, MS to play a football game in.

And yet with all the firsts and so much positive news coverage, there have entirely too much negativity from others.  And surprisingly I have seen hardly any of these negative things coming from Ole Miss.  So I want to address some of these things.  MSU was not ranked preseason.  We were picked I believe to finish 5th in the SEC West.  We are constantly looked at like a doormat.  We are looked at as  an "easy" win.  So when the LSU game was coming up, I had my doubts about us walking into Death Valley and coming out with a win.  Some students that I teach who are LSU fans constantly said "failstate" to me.  (failstate would be a rip on MSU's HailState)  After the win, did I come back at them with something like "Bulldog Bait?"  No.  I simply celebrated my team's win.  One thing I have learned after years of 2-10, 3-9, and 4-8 seasons is how to win humbly.  Something that I admire greatly.  I have been Tiger Baited, War Eagled, Hotty Toddied, Roll Tided, and worst of all Pig Sooed entirely too much in my life.  People, I was there when we lost to Maine.....let that sink in.  I was there when MSU lost to Auburn 3-2.  It has been entirely too long for me to celebrate a win by degrading the loyal opposing fans.  Yes I know that in the stands the band plays the Hey Song and there is the cheer that says "we just beat the hell out of you."  I am honestly not a fan of that, but creating cheers is not my responsibility.  After beating Texas A&M and Auburn, even more comments are popping out of the woodworks.  Such gems like MSU is paying the refs to make bad calls on the opposing team.  Really people?  Did you see the rankings of top college spending on athletics.  MSU was 58th.  I guess we are spending all that other money on paying refs to make bad calls.  I mean do you ever walk away from a game and say, "whew those refs did a great job tonight!"  No.  Yes I did see the bad pass interference call, but come on people thats EVERY sporting event from BOTH sides of the ball.  So lets stop the charade that MSU has the refs in their pockets and remember that refs are humans too and guess what, they make mistakes.

So to end my rant about MSU.  I am proud of the staff, I am proud of the coaches, I am proud of the players, and I am always proud to be a bulldog.  Thanks Dan Mullen for making us believe in Mississippi State again.


So what does this all have to do with cancer?  Well during the month of October you can hardly watch football without seeing pink breast cancer awareness everywhere.  Now I did not have breast cancer, I had a form of blood cancer.  Did you know that September was blood cancer awareness month?  Not many did.  In fact, I didn't even know that blood cancer existed until my father had Hodgkin Lymphoma 15 years ago (to be honest I didn't even know it was a blood cancer until I found out I had it in December of last year).  That got me to think: "what other cancers are there that I don't know about?"  To further delve into that thought process, I looked up other awareness months just to see if those got any press.  Here is what I found: Not only is October Breast Cancer Awareness month, but it is also Liver Cancer Awareness month.  Also not only is September Blood Cancer Awareness month, but it is also Childhood Cancer, Gynecological Cancer, Ovarian Cancer, Prostate Cancer, and Thyroid Cancer Awareness month.  Just looking at a calendar with the cancer awareness months listed for each, only August and June (cancer survivor month) have no cancer represented, and all but January have more than one Cancer represented.  How overwhelming is this?  It was extremely humbling to me.  Out of all the cancers in the world, I just happened to get one that is highly treatable for patients my age.

Here is a calendar for all of you that want to see what month is what:



With the football world focusing on rankings and stats, lets look at some other stats.  There will be approximately 1,665,540 new cases of cancer in the US this year.  There will be 235,030 new Breast Cancer diagnosis with an estimated 40,430 deaths.  There will be 79,990 estimated Lymphoma diagnosis with approximately 20,170 deaths.  Although the success rates seem pretty good number wise, we have to remember that each and every person matters.  Each and every new case is not just a number or just a stat.  Each person has a reason to live and a purpose in life.  I know after my own diagnosis almost one year ago, I could have decided to listen to the nay-sayers.  I could have lowered my head and stopped working and truly just be miserable for the entire process.  Yet I chose not to.  This was partly due to my faith, partly due to my support system, partly due to my stubborness, and yes partly due to the stats.  The stats looked good for my prognosis and I never would have known the stats if it wasn't for great organizations like the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  We really wouldn't know the extent of Breast cancer if it wasn't for great organizations like the Susan G Komen for the Cure group and the high saturation of pink during the month of October.  There are so many other organizations and clubs that I could mention, but what I want is for you to go out and get involved.  Pick a team and follow them with all you have.  Find a coworker, family member, or friend who is suffering from disease and go to bat for them.  Maybe it is yourself that you need to support.  Get plugged in, find a chapter, go run a race, go raise some money, do your part.  You can make a difference, you can help save a life.

So yes Mississippi State might be number 1 in the AP poll, but cancer never will be close to the top-25. Lets keep it that way.  

Journey Strong

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