Julie Meyer, far left, Courtney Syrett and Allison Brown, as well as the rest of the Ole Miss softball team, visited the Le Bonheur Children's Hospital and the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis.
Jan. 23, 2014
OXFORD, Miss. – The Ole Miss softball team does not open its season until Feb. 7, but in many regards, the Rebels have already won the day.
In its trip to Memphis, Tenn., to visit the Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital on Jan. 16 and the National Civil Rights Museum on Jan. 20, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the softball team participated in a pair of events greater than itself, and is the better for it. In the eyes of head coach Windy Thees, being a college student-athlete is more than just putting on a jersey and competing throughout a season. For Thees, student-athletes are role models who should be looked at for their work on and off the field.
“Being an Ole Miss Rebel, you’re automatically in the spotlight for what you do athletically and in the classroom,” Thees said. “Our athletes are looked up to by a lot of people. It was great to go somewhere where these kids are fighting battles a lot bigger than what we fight on the field. Whether it was one young man who just had brain surgery, others fighting to overcome diseases, or some kids who had been in the hospital for two weeks. To be a healthy athlete, you go there and realize what a gift you have each day just to be healthy, and also say, ‘Alright, I’m going to win this one for some of these kids who won’t be able to play sports in the future.’ ”
On Jan. 16, Ole Miss visited the children’s hospital and played games such as HedBanz, Uno and Connect Four with the kids, and also drew pictures with them with crayons. Half of the team was also able to tour one of the floors of the hospital and go room to room to say hello, give them an Ole Miss softball and put a smile on their faces.
“Some of the kids wanted to play, some just wanted to be held,” Thees said. “They were all ages, from babies all the way up to 16-18.”
“It was really rewarding,” said junior third baseman Allison Brown. “I used to do this kind of stuff in high school, but doing it here there is such a bigger purpose because you’re at a university now and you have ‘Ole Miss’ on your shirts. They see that and they know what that means. It makes it feel so much more special. You’re doing this for the university, it’s not just for yourself to do it. The biggest thing was seeing their faces light up when they saw who you were, even if they don’t watch softball or anything. They saw Ole Miss and that was cool.”
Brown worked at the game center part of the hospital with the kids and said it was wonderful to simply cheer them up and serve as an escape for the kids where they could be themselves and not have to think or talk about why they were there.
“I’m glad I’m doing something that’s bigger than myself,” Brown said. “It’s no longer just about the name on the back of my uniform. It’s about the name on the front. That’s who I’m representing. I’m representing this university, and for those kids to look at me and say, ‘Wow, that’s a great role model at a great university,’ and not just ‘a great individual.’ ”
Following their visit to the Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, the softball team visited the National Civil Rights Museum for training in preparation of their work at the famous museum on Martin Luther King Jr. Day four days later.
The team helped at the museum Monday with everything from keeping the flow of traffic running smoothly throughout the museum, to working ticket booths, to standing in front of exhibits making sure people didn’t sit on them or damage any of the actual exhibits the museum has to offer.
“Martin Luther King Day is such a special day all around the country, but especially in Memphis, because it’s right there at the Lorraine Motel,” Thees said. “I wanted our kids to see there are struggles people fight that are, again, bigger than what’s on the softball field. It was really great for our kids to go there.”
Brown agreed and said she also enjoyed helping the visitors, even if it was something as simple as giving directions or answering a question.
“It was very hectic,” Brown said. “But it was cool to see a bunch of different people coming together celebrating a person who has done so much for us.”
So while the season still sits two weeks away, the Rebel softball team has already recorded a pair of wins in events beyond the field, and has shown that at Ole Miss it’s more than just softball.
“It shows we care about the community, we can reach out to them and we have time for them also,” Brown said. “We’re not only consumed with softball. There are other priorities in our lives that we want people to see we care about.”
The Ole Miss head track coach Brian O'Neal and assistant coach Greg Stringer opened up the Manning Center for the participants in Ole Miss' Horizons Summer Learning program on Wednesday (July 9).... Read More [+]
Mary Ashton Nall grew up around intercollegiate athletics, specifically college football. Her father, Hugh, played football at Georgia and coached at Ole Miss and Auburn. From competing in the NCAA... Read More [+]
Through the Rebel Relief Project, Ole Miss fans and area residents will have the opportunity to donate household and clothing items for tornado victims across Mississippi at various locations in... Read More [+]
The Ole Miss Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), is partnering with Purshoeing Joy to collect used shoes for children in Guatemala. SAAC members will be collecting shoes at Friday's (April... Read More [+]
Even in the midst of a busy spring football schedule and their academic pursuits, members of the Ole Miss football team were able to take a trip to the state's capital city last Thursday when they ... Read More [+]
- Ole Miss track and field student-athletes recently participated at a "Move Mississippi" event at the O-U Methodist Church. The Move Mississippi initiative was started last year and helps to fight... Read More [+]
This is the fourth installment of Observations from the Best Seat in the House. The idea of this weekly feature will be to bring you all some of our observations from the previous week in Ole Miss Sports. This week... read more
The Ole Miss Volleyball team remained undefeated at 14-0 and matched last year's win total with a 4-0 weekend at the Rebel Classic capped by wins over Lamar (3-0) and Jackson State (3-1) Saturday. The last three sets against Jackson... read more
The Season: Ole Miss Football - Episode 4 - ULL (2014) from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.In case you missed it, The Season: Ole Miss Football Episode 1, The Season: Ole Miss Football Episode 2 and The Season: Ole Miss... read more
Highlights from Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze's time on the SEC teleconference Wednesday, ahead of the Rebels' open date and return to action on Saturday, Sept. 27 against Memphis.Freeze's time on the call begins at the 1:50:18 mark. For the... read more
NASCAR driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr., visited Ole Miss on Wednesday. The Olive Branch, Mississippi, native spoke to various student groups, including the football team. Stenhouse Jr. presented head coach Hugh Freeze with a firesuit, and Freeze presented him with an... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewSept. 8-14, 2014Volleyball- Ole Miss captured the Magnolia Invitational this past weekend to improve to 10-0, its best start in school history.- The Rebels downed UAB and Mercer 3-0 and then defeated Jacksonville State 3-1... read more
After a 56-15 win over Louisiana-Lafayette Saturday, Ole Miss moved up four spots to No. 10 in the latest Associated Press poll, released on Sunday. Despite breaking into the top 10, the Rebels remain fifth among Southeastern Conference Western Division... read more
This is the third installment of Observations from the Best Seat in the House. The idea of this weekly feature will be to bring you all some of our observations from the previous week in Ole Miss Sports. This week... read more
Leading 1-0 after controlling the play for much of the game, Ole Miss opened up a 3-0 lead on Middle Tennessee with a pair of goals in the final minute of the first half on the way to a 4-0... read more
Senior cornerback Senquez Golson has come a long way since he was a freshman. That season, he was most notably on the receiving end of a highlight reel juke from Alabama running back Trent Richardson. Three years later, as part... read more
Three areas to watch as Ole Miss faces Louisiana-Lafayette in its home opener Saturday. Wearing the Bull's-Eye After a 2-0 start with wins over Boise State and Vanderbilt, Ole Miss moved up to No. 14 in the Associated Press poll,... read more
With a chance to make history, Ole Miss dropped a first set for the first time this season. The Rebels answered the bell winning the next three sets to defeat Jacksonville State 3-1 and improve to 10-0 on the season,... read more
Rebel Nation goes into its home opener Saturday excited for the return of football at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, but also saddened by the loss of one of its most renowned voices.Stan Sandroni, 64, passed away of a heart attack late Wednesday.... read more