Believe it or not, we rolled into Bloomington, Indiana and got a win. Our team, the Ohio State football Buckeyes, are the first college football national champions. Though no one expected us to win the Big Ten championship, Sugar Bowl or the national championship, we did. We won decisively. When our touchdown record-breaking starting quarterback, JT Barrett, went down during the final regular season game, Cardale Jones, our backup quarterback. stepped up and our team, both offense and defense dominated. We became national champions. Sports media and fans couldn’t get enough of our Buckeyes. Our boys were the greatest thing since sliced bread or as a family friend always says, “greatest thing since canned beer.” Buckeyes were world champions and our sons, including our prolific backup quarterback, were all celebrated, from Columbus to Hollywood.
Fast forward less than nine months later, and the same media guys, fans and folks who worshiped our team are now berating them. Why? Because unfortunately that’s the nature of the game and the sadness of humanity. That’s why in sports and in life, you can’t get too high with the highs or too low with the lows. Has the team lost a game? No, we’re still undefeated and number one in the AP poll. But even if the team had lost a game or two, does that mean they deserve the harassment they’ve received on social media? Did our sons murder anyone, break any laws? No, not that hate is ever an acceptable response to someone else’s frailties, but our sons did nothing to deserve to be harassed and berated. Most of the vitriol has been directed at our championship winning quarterback, Cardale Jones. Looking at some of the things tweeted to him and about him from fans are horrific, disturbing, infuriating and sad.
My son is a defensive back, a corner. So we’ve seen and read it all. He’s really good about keeping things in perspective and going about his life. My husband and I are great about reminding him who He is to us and to God. Honestly, the last time I cared what others thought of me, jehri curls were a thing. You just can’t please everyone; so just please God, and everyone who matters will be satisfied.
We live in a social media world. There’s nothing wrong with social media. It’s a great way to connect and communicate with others, especially those of like mind and humor. Unfortunately, it’s also home to sadistic trolls and the armpits of humanity. I generally don’t respond to the haters. I believe people have a right to their opinions, even if it’s wrong or flawed. It’s one of the things that make our nation great, that and Chipotle.
What I do take issue with is so called journalists and sports media guys, who make a living covering or talking about our team, berating and insulting college kids on social media. There’s a difference between analysis and insults. Unfortunately these guys have yet to learn the difference. These are grown men using their position to harass, insult and berate college kids.
It’s just disgustingly pathetic.
We had one of our guys break his leg in training camp and another guy break his leg during the Indiana game, while another guy was coughing blood after a hit in Saturday’s game, as well as guys whose bodies are banged up and dealing with nagging injuries. Still these kids play through it all, only to be insulted on social media by trolls masquerading as journalists and fake fans who think our sons are just objects created for their amusement and egos. These are 18, 19, 20 year-old college kids, amateur athletes, not NFL professionals.
I always remind my son, our team and our Buckeye football families as often as I can: do not get wrapped up in the praise or criticism. One day you’re the greatest thing since canned beer. The next day, you’re trash. It’s fruitless to get caught up in the hype or the hate. You have to play this game because you love it. Play it for yourself and your teammates. That’s what made us champions. Everyone doubted and trashed our team all last season. Our boys tuned out the hate and played for each other. Now they must tune out the hype generated after being crowned champions and focus on what’s most important: faith in a loving God whose plans for their lives are flawless; family who loves and supports them wholeheartedly and their teammates with whom they grind and bleed. These are the important things that matter, not the hype nor the hate.
So what can we take away from all this? Those who love you will always love you no matter how well or challenging your day is. Those who hate you will always hate you. You can come up with a cure for cancer, and they’ll still hate you. Even when they hype your public accolades, they still hate you. How do you know? By the way they respond when you don’t live up to their warped expectations. So don’t internalize the hate they spew. People only give what they have. If they’re giving hate, they’re full of hate. So let that hate be only theirs to keep.
Don’t get puffed up by their hype or false show of love. It’s more envy than admiration, and it’s definitely not respect. You’re just an object to them to build their sense of worth and false accomplishments. You’re bragging rights and self-worth validation because they have nothing else to offer the world on their own; so they latch at your on field success. When you make them feel good about their place in the world, you’re the man. When they feel you’re impeding on their bragging rights, they’ll try to tear you down using hate and free wifi. That’s what they do. That’s who they are. Don’t let who they are interfere with who you are and where you’re going.