This is not a football post as much as it is a Memphis post, but in honor of the start of football, we are going to work it in here. You’ll also see why I intentionally put Tiger football pictures in this post as opposed others that could have fit. As thrilled as any man should be, I have thoroughly enjoyed the return of NFL football this weekend. Kickoff weekend is filled with the air of possibility as every team starts with a 0-0 record, meaning they are all in a statistical tie for a title shot. Further fueling the excitement was the NFL’s slogan that was prominently displayed before each game. Hopeful players simply indicating the following, “Why not us?” If you listen to the commentators, they would tell you why it will not be you this year. However, players don’t shouldn’t operate from that viewpoint. Rather, they operate from the realm of possibility and in the realm of possibility its fair to ask, Why not us?
This past weekend, Memphis made the national spotlight for a couple of reasons. One football related and the other crime related. We will start with the crime. As many of you know by now, a group of teens were filmed in a Memphis Kroger parking lot beating up 3 people to the point of unconsciousness. There appears to be no motivation for the attack other than then violent out workings or some poorly adjusted youth. However, the internet has taken the actions of a few teens and turned it into a national debate. Granted it was a violent attack, but these teens hardly speak for the city.
For in the same weekend, the Memphis Tiger Football team, known for its less than stellar play over the past decade, found itself going toe to toe with 11h ranked UCLA. Excitement filled the air as social media was then ablaze over what might be possible. There was something fitting about hometown heroes going out to California and reminding them that we are no easy target. Full disclosure I am a Mississippi State fan, but would pull for Memphis as the hometown team otherwise. So you know, Go Tigers Go, except when facing State.
Possibility or Pontification
So here we go. Regarding the violence outside the Kroger, social and mainstream media are ablaze with pontification on race and crime. Pontification could be defined as the act of speaking for the purpose of the speaker. That is to assert oneself as an authority on an issue, to advance their own cause, or just simply to hear themselves speak. Its everywhere. For in the shadow of Ferguson, MO, so many were looking for an opportunity to pontificate and now these beatings has given them the juice.
Meanwhile, I would simply like to speak from the viewpoint of possibility. I am not an expert on crime, race, or even sports for that matter, but I am an expert on my own thoughts, so my own thoughts are what you are going to get here at Unprecedented Mediocrity. So when I envision a safe place for my kids to grow up, a community that thrives on civic pride, and winning reputation as a city, I can’t help but think, Why not us? Why not us Memphis?
I told you no one was coming
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my previous article, Its on Us Memphis, No one is Coming, as I think it bears a direct impact on the future of the city. For this beating that occurred in a popular Kroger parking lot could certainly have used the presence of police, but more specifically the presence of competent police. For let’s face it Memphis, no amount of PILOT tax breaks will encourage a business to stay when its employees are beaten at its doorstep.
Ask yourselves Memphis what would have happened if an inept and skiddish cop would have waded into that crowd with poor trigger discipline? Where would Memphis be today as a result? Its obvious those kids were not that tough from the way they scattered at the sight of a Kroger security guard. However, an inept cop with an itchy trigger finger could have sent this city on a downward spiral. So Mayor and City Council, if no one is coming to save the day, lets at least keep our commitments to those qualified veterans that are already here and serving. Memphis is no place for the junior varsity of cops.
A Future Without Precedent
This is really what we are pursuing here, a future without precedent. For while many who pontificate do so for their own gain, the average Memphian knows that doesn’t help them in the least. Don’t be fooled Memphis, any national attention we get now, will be gone by tomorrow, and the only people left to clean up the mess will be guess who, Memphis itself. Don’t mistake the nation’s fickle attention for actual interest or concern.
However, that’s ok with some locals determined to make a difference. You see different groups of Memphians have already decided to wage war on the types of crimes that took place in the parking lot long before that particular crime was ever committed. Throughout this county, people have invested their time into ministering, counseling, teaching, mentoring, fostering, adopting, and supporting some of the most at-risk teens in the nation. Rather than fuel the flames of those that want to leave the city, the organization Choose 901 is promoting a nationwide call for the best and brightest to come to Memphis. For these people have aired on the side of possibility. While you talk, they work, and little by little, Memphis gets a little better each day. Honestly, any idea to help is at your finger tips. Just google it. You would be surprised who all is doing what in Memphis to make it a better place.
On a weekend where Memphis should be proud and excited that its local Tigers took the fight to one of the best college teams in the nation, instead we are talking about some unruly juveniles. However, for everyone of those juveniles you saw in that video, I’ll show you two destined for college, grad school, Doctorates, or even better coming from Memphis. You just didn’t see them, because they were probably home studying. At some point, the rest of us as a City are going to have to get fed up and instead of bemoaning the plight of our city as I admittedly have done from time to time, we are going to have to start asking ourselves, Why not us Memphis, Why not us.
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