Sports Column: This is one game that is much more than ‘just a game’
Published 8:00 am Sunday, April 9, 2023
A common expression in sports circles is, “It’s just a game.”
The idea is that, in the grand scheme of things, the games we play do not mean a whole lot. People won’t remember the plays, or even the winners and losers, years from now, so we shouldn’t take it all too seriously.
Once in a while, however, you see something that reminds you why all of this matters more than you can imagine.
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On Thursday, dozens of high school golfers playing in a tournament at Vicksburg Country Club showed their support of Warren Central’s Cooper Jamison by wearing T-shirts with his name on them.
On Monday, Jamison will be honored by Warren Central’s baseball team. He’ll throw out the first pitch before an eighth- and ninth-grade doubleheader against Clinton, and then be the guest of honor.
The accolades aren’t because Jamison is an all-star player in either sport. He didn’t win a tournament or hit a game-winning home run. In fact, he doesn’t even play baseball.
Jamison is a seventh-grader at Warren Central who is bravely battling a terrible disease. Three years ago, when he was only 10 years old, he was diagnosed with an infiltrating astrocytoma — a cancerous brain tumor.
Next Wednesday, Cooper will have surgery to try and treat the tumor. He’ll have a hole drilled in his skull and, in a new procedure — he’s only the third person to have it University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson — tiny robots will be used to explore his brain. If it’s in a spot where they can cut it out, they will.
It’s a terrible situation all around, but in the darkness sports has provided a tiny sliver of light. Throughout his battle with the cancer, Cooper has remained a part of Warren Central’s athletic program. He’s a manager for the baseball and football teams. He’s joined the golf team, and on Thursday shot 111 to finish 25th at the Warren Central Invitational.
Playing sports has given Cooper and his family an outlet for their emotions, and a reason to move forward from day to day. It’s provided an extended family that has shown nothing but love and support in the most difficult of times.
“He struggles in sports, but he’s still playing,” Cooper’s mother, Tiffany Jamison, said. “I want him to always have that team, because they help him to get through it for sure. It’s not just a game to us. It’s definitely the relationships that are made. These boys are close.”
Monday at 5 p.m., all of us can do the same. Warren Central’s baseball doubleheader vs. Clinton begins at 5 p.m. at Viking Field. Proceeds from the concession stand will go to the family, and a donation bucket will be available. The donations will surely be welcome, but just as important is letting a family, a friend, know that they’re not alone.
If it wins, Warren Central can clinch a berth in the first-ever Little Six baseball tournament. Win or lose, though, it’s doubtful that that is what this game will be remembered for. This one is for Cooper, in more ways than one.
Ernest Bowker is the sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org