Kevan Lindsey

Photo/John Larson

Purvis athletics and their upswing

When I first arrived in Hattiesburg last August I was told which schools are typically great at certain sports. When I got to Purvis, many said they were a baseball school. That is not a dig at Purvis or other sports by any means. When you have success for an extended amount of time in a sport, that becomes your “thing.”

While Purvis could still be labeled a baseball school, both football and basketball are in upswings. Head football coach Brad Hankins took a team that went 2-8 the year before 6-6 with a 3-2 district record and a playoff appearance in 2019. Hankins brought discipline to the team and excitement in the stands.

Both the girls and guys basketball teams are having success, but the boy’s Tornadoes team is having a huge turnaround. Head coach Eric Cooper has his team sitting at 16-3 overall with a 3-1 district record. This is their first multiple-win season in district play since the 2014-2015 season when they won four district games. No matter what happens down the line, you have to believe this season will be defined as successful with a winning foundation laid.

Purvis might be a baseball school but the whole program is in an upswing.

Former Southern Miss, Ole Miss, and Mississippi State players in Super Bowl LIV

Mississippi schools will be represented in the Super Bowl as Chris Jones, Martinas Rankin, Braxton Hoyett, Breeland Speaks, D.J. Jones, Nick Mullens, and Tarvarius Moore are listed on rosters.

Chris Jones who played for Mississippi State will likely see the most time on the field in the Super Bowl as he has combined for 36 tackles on the season with a forced fumble. He was ruled out of the divisional game and is dealing with a calf injury, but in the AFC Championship, he accounted for two tackles.

Tarvarius Moore who played for Southern Miss dealt with a concussion as the regular season came to a close and did not record any stats against Green Bay in the NFC Championship, however, he did play on special teams against Minnesota in the divisional round.

Nick Mullens has served as a backup to Jimmy Garoppolo. Hoyett, Speaks, Jones, and Rankin has been on-and-off the practice squad and injury report throughout the season.

Remembering Dr. King

While Dr. Martin Luther King never played a sport, Dr. King is tied to three events, and two people even the most casual of sports fans should know.

King was a baseball fan and in 1947 Jackie Robinson had broken the color barrier of baseball. Around a decade later, Robinson’s career as his career was coming to an end, he began to speak out for civil rights. As many around Robinson told him to keep quiet and not tarnish his legacy, Dr. King urged Robinson to continue to speak out. Robinson, motivated by Dr. King’s words toured the south, speaking out, becoming a larger draw than even Dr. King.

Robinson went on to end every speech with this, "If I had to choose tomorrow between the Baseball Hall of Fame and full citizenship for my people I would choose full citizenship time and again."

Dr. King also supported boxing legend, Muhammad Ali. The only photographed picture of Ali and Dr. King known is from 1967 taken within Ali’s home as Dr. King faced criticism of opposing the Vietnam War.

Later in 1967, track stars Tommie Smith, Lee Evans, John Carlos joined forces with others to organize the Olympic Project for Human Rights and boycott the 1968 Olympics. Dr. King joined them even as other civil rights leaders disagreed and called the protest unpatriotic.

Whether you agree or disagree with Dr. King’s protests, he is tied to sports due to being an integral part of three important sports movements in the 20th century. For that, we remember.

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