When I was a boy growing up in Savannah, Ga., my family would take trips to visit some kinfolk who lived on a farm near Norway, S.C.
My Mom was from a little South Carolina town called Tarborough, and we had relatives throughout the low country. I knew exactly what it meant when we kids were told we were going to “the country.”
I always relished the opportunity to immerse myself in farm life, even though I grew up directly across from a small farm in Georgia.
The farm in Carolina was so big that I felt like I was the first explorer to discover some of the “nooks and crannies” of that vast real estate. Even now, it is a place that I retreat to in my mind and find peaceful memories of days gone by.
When water was needed, it either came from the hand pump or was drawn from the well. I remember peering over the edge of that well and thinking that it led to the center of the earth.
We thrilled at being able to drop the bucket into that well and pull up a bucketful of cool water to quench our thirst.
I have often thought about that well and the lessons it taught me about life.
In teaching my children, I would use that old well as an object lesson to show that the way a person speaks reveals the content of his or her heart. The tongue is nothing more than a bucket that draws from our inner reservoir and brings it to the surface for all to hear.
You won’t draw clear water from a polluted well.
I have worked in Youth Detention Centers where I have met kids who were acting out what they had been told. They believed that they were good for nothing and would never accomplish anything worthwhile because someone convinced them it was so.
Our words, whether spoken or blogged, are rarely neutral in their impact. They can be constructive or destructive. They can refresh or poison. They can add or subtract.
Do you remember the coach or the teacher who had confidence in you and believed you had value? Do you remember how they encouraged you with their words?
I hope you had someone like that in your life. Whether we received it or not, we all needed some encouragement along the journey.
I will never forget a Little League coach who made me feel like I could conquer the world. He would drop to one knee to be on my level, and he would look me in the eye.
He told me that he believed in me, and he made me believe I could get the job done. I love that man to this day.
That brings me to my point. We have, right here in our College Football Community, some writers who are younger than most. In fact, they are in High School and are remarkable writers. I am absolutely amazed at the quality of work that they put out.
They are asking for no freebies. If you read their articles, they will gain your respect by their knowledge, passion, and ability. They have what it takes.
If you have not already met them, I want to introduce them to you. They are my friends, and I am proud of them and ask you to read their articles, become their fans, and encourage them to keep on writing.
If you know someone that has been overlooked, shine the spotlight on them in your comments.
I list them in no particular order, except ladies first.
This 16-year-old Southern Belle is from Birmingham, Ala., and has been a member of B/R for one month. The self-proclaimed “Bama Chick” is an excellent writer and lives out her enthusiasm by working for Bama Fever.
Warning! Don’t get lured in by her charm—she will swap barbs with you in a second should you decide to question her beloved Crimson Tide. Roll Tide! My favorite article of hers, on "closet" Bama fans, can be found here.
This 14-year-old Gator fan now lives in Idaho. He has been a member of B/R for two months. He writes with a passion and is a voracious defender the boys from The Swamp.
He can be found on the threads challenging people who might question Superman and Co. He’s not afraid to jump into controversy.
Notice his picture? He is staring you down. Chomp! Chomp! My favorite article of his, on college football's top rivalries, can be found here.
Talk about a great guy! The Eyes of Texas are on this 17-year-old high school junior, who has been a member of B/R for three months. He is a die-hard fan of the Texas Longhorns and the gun called Colt McCoy.
He is quickly winning the respect of his readers. Read his work and you’ll know why. His writing is absolutely outstanding. Hook ‘em! My favorite, on the bonding power of college football, can be found here.
This is my home state buddy! He is a high school junior and has been a member of B/R for six months. He now lives in Virginia but is originally from Titletown, USA
That is a picture of him sitting on the home field of the most famous high school football team in history. Sadly, he is a Gator fan! Ouch! But he's an incredible writer! My favorite article, which details a bitter high school football rivalry, can be found here.
This 16-year-old newcomer to B/R has been featured on SI.com from time to time. Anthony is an excellent writer, and his enthusiasm can be felt in everything he writes. He loves Penn State and will tell you so in a heartbeat!
He has a great attitude and is going to be a welcomed addition to our community. My favorite article by him, which discusses the Nittany Lions' running game, can be found here.
This is a classy young man. This 15-year-old high school sophomore has been a member of B/R for seven months. He is an avid West Virginia fan and is feeling a bit blue about his Mountaineers!
WVU should be proud to have such a good young writer as a fan. Now if they’ll just give him something to write about! He has earned my respect. My favorite of his articles, where he bemoans the current state of WVU football, can be found here.
This high school senior has been a member of B/R for six months. He was born in Brazil and now lives in Canada.
He loves college football, and my favorite article of his tells us why. It is an excellent read, and he is an excellent writer! It can be found here.
This High School senior has been a member of B/R for just under a month and plans on enrolling in the University of Alabama next year. Guess who his favorite team is? You got it! Roll Tide!
Another talented teen writer, Cody is not afraid to tackle the media darlings! Check this article out to see what I mean.