It’s Up to the Next Generation to Change the World

barry currin, stories of a world gone mad, beaverdamusa.comI have excellent news.

I’m not going to tell you what it is yet, though. I have to tell the story first.

As you may or may not know, Kim and I spent a good part of the week before last as parents attending graduation events at the University of Tennessee. We went to four functions in all, including the commencement ceremony on Saturday for the UT College of Arts and Sciences.

UT is a big place. I think I had forgotten how big. In fact, the university graduated each of its colleges over a series of three days.

The Arts and Sciences commencement ceremony was the largest one. That tidbit is noteworthy only for the fact that it made for quite a long event. It was worth every second, but that didn’t make it any easier on the 10,000 or so backsides in attendance.

During the events leading up to graduation, however, I was fortunate to talk with professors, deans, graduating seniors and other university administrators.

I met and talked at length with new UTK Chancellor Beverly Davenport. This was a highlight for me. She is smart, energetic and passionate. Plus, she is a southerner, which doesn’t hurt anything. The university is in the best of hands with her steering the ship. I assure you of that. I cannot wait to see what she accomplishes.

On Saturday morning, her energizing remarks to the graduating class were nothing short of a locker room speech.

But she was only one of dozens of people I met throughout the week who are among the brightest in their respective fields. Their accomplishments are mind blowing, their potential is infinite, and their appetite to serve their planet seems to be insatiable.

So here’s the excellent news I promised you: Everything is going to be all right.

I have full faith that tomorrow’s generation understands what it will take to fix us. They are inheriting a mess, but the global environment these young people have witnessed growing up seems to have created a sense of urgency within them. They’re driven, they’re bright, and they’re focused.

It’s not just happening in one place either.

UT probably graduated 5,000 seniors last week. Imagine how many graduated from the thousands of schools globally.

I sense they collectively understand that it’s up to them to make the changes that will literally save the world.

I’ve slept on it a couple of nights thinking the intoxication from all the pomp and circumstance would wear off, but it hasn’t.

I was inspired by what I saw and heard, and my hope in mankind has been renewed.

Back when I was in school, people talked about making a difference, but it was the ‘80s. Things were rocking along pretty good for us mainstream kids.

That was then, though. And this is now.

The world has deteriorated since I was their age, there’s no doubt about it. And it’s continuing down the wrong path more and more rapidly every day.

Go back and scan the headlines on the front page of this newspaper you’re holding.

They’re alarming — unbelievable at times.

Today is more ridiculous than yesterday, which was more ridiculous than the day before that.

We’re barely treading water. And I am 100 percent convinced that these young Millennials — as we love to call them — will find new ways to throw us a lifeline instead of another concrete block.

But they can’t do it alone.

We have to help save ourselves. We have to be willing to listen to other peoples’ opinions rather than try to yell over them.

Instead of building another wall, I say we knock down some of the walls that already exist so we can see and learn to appreciate the people on the other side.

They may not look like us, act like us or have our same belief systems.

Oh, wait.

Maybe it’s us who don’t look like them.

Is my generation capable of seeing things that way? If we are, we’ve been hiding it pretty well here lately.

I’m inspired, though, because that’s the way the class of 2017 sees the world. And from my observations, they’re dead set on making it a better place.

I believe they will. I wish them all the success possible. Our future depends on it.

SEC Pigskin Picks Thanksgiving Predictions

Aight, Slackers, I’m mailing in this week’s SEC Pigskin Picks. Chely is away on a turkey hunt/turkey rescue adventure vacation (don’t ask). And, the Perfesser is climbing Mt. Everest. I’m in Panama City Beach with Mrs. Coach Billy Jack Hoover.

It’s rivalry week. And, here are this week’s games, with the guaranteed winners.

Missouri vs. Arkansas. Missouri is pitiful. If we were on the air, I would make some kind of joke calling them misery, and you would laugh. Arkansas in a blowout.

Clemson vs. South Carolina. The top-ranked Tigers only have bragging rights to play for, and a win could salvage a horrible season for South Carolina. I wonder if Spurrier had this game circled when he got out of Dodge earlier in the season? Probably. Clemson in a rout.

Georgia vs. Georgia Tech. The bottom line is, a win probably saves Mark Richt’s job, and a loss probably dooms him. I say the Dawgs pull off a squeaker.

Louisville vs. Kentucky. The SEC East has been the media’s whipping boy all year, and with good reason. Kentucky also has an anemic offense, which takes the focus off of their similarly anemic defense. Louisville wins.

Alabama vs. Auburn. Alabama is on the way to their next National Championship, and Auburn has struggled this year. What a perfect script for an upset. Not gonna happen.

Vanderbilt vs. Tennessee. The Vols are a surprising 17 point favorite against the hated Commodores. I don’t see them covering the spread, but Dobbs and Co., will get it done in Knoxville.

Ole Miss vs. Mississippi State. Upset alert. Ole Miss goes down in the Egg Bowl. You heard it here first.

Florida State vs. Florida. Upset alert No. 2. Florida loses.

Texas A&M vs. LSU. The Tigers help the Mad Hatter keep his job another year.

If you’re still reading, thanks. And thanks to you all for listening to us for the past 4 years. Happy Thanksgiving.

For the perfesser and Chely, this is Coach Billy Jack Hoover. Now, give me 20, slackers.

SEC Pigskin Picks 11-19: “Coach Gets Bad News” Featured game: UT-Missouri

Coach Billy Jack learns he is being stripped of his state record for the 110 meter hurdles, and you’ll never guess who benefits from this. Meanwhile, Chely visits the Gateway Arch on her way to the Tennessee-Missouri game. Naturally, she has a small issue.

SEC Pigskin Picks 11-12: “Opryland USA,” Featured game: Vandy-Kentucky

Chely is all excited about going to Opryland USA during her visit to the Vandy-Kentucky game. There’s only one problem, as she quickly realizes.

SEC Pigskin Picks 11-5: “Sorry, Robert Frost” Featured game: LSU-Bama

Coach writes a poem to try and apologize to the listeners because the picks have been so terrible this year. Meanwhile, Chely serves on a jury until she find out she may miss the Slobber Knocker Game of the Week, Alabama and LSU.

SEC Pigskin Picks 10-29: “Halloween Hi-jinks” UT-Kentucky, UGA-Florida

Coach Billy Jack reveals he is a master at winning Halloween contests. You will not believe who he dressed up as once! Chely, meanwhile, tackles childhood obesity as only she can by pledging to give away healthy treats. Featured games, Tennessee-Kentucky and Georgia-Florida.

SEC Pigskin Picks 10-22: “Chely the Cable Guy,” UT-Bama

In this week’s episode, Professor Sinclair introduces Coach Billy Jack to Pumpkin Spice Latte; and, Chely helps a cable installer in distress. Featured game, Tennessee-Alabama.

SEC Pigskin Picks 10/15: “Chely, Phil and Uncle Si”

Coach Billy Jack teaches Professor Sinclair how to figure percentages in a way only he can. And, Chely has a run-in with the Duck Dynasty boys. Featured games: Texas A&M-Alabama and LSU-Florida.

SEC Pigskin Picks 10-8: “Calling Erin Andrews”

When coach announces his retirement, Professor Sinclair calls up an unlikely replacement. Featured games: Alabama-Arkansas, LSU-South Carolina.

SEC Pigskin Picks 10-1: “Butch, What Were You Thinking?”

Chely finds herself duct taped to a chair but still manages to talk about Bama-Georgia. Meanwhile, Coach Billy Jack and Professor Sinclair unanimously give this week’s “What Were You Thinking” award to Butch Jones following the Florida game and talk about Tennessee’s upcoming game with Arkansas.

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