Self-Control and Bedlam

Football fans in this great state are getting ready for “Bedlam”.  It happens about this time every year.  “Bedlam” refers to sports competition between instate rivals, the Oklahoma Sooners vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys.  The word “bedlam” defined is “a place or situation of noisy and or wild uproar; chaos; a madhouse.”  Years ago, a sports writer applied the word “bedlam” to what often happened when the Sooners and Cowboys played each other, “noisy and wild uproar, chaos, a madhouse”.

Self-Control and BedlamOU has dominated the football “bedlam” series since 1904 with a record of 83 wins, 17 losses and 7 ties.  OSU has come close in a number of those losses.  One such game happened in 1988.  Coming into that game OU was ranked 8th and OSU 12th in the country.  OSU had the great Barry Sanders who set all kinds of rushing records and would end the season by being named the Heisman Trophy winner.  In that game, OU was ahead by 3 points, but OSU had the ball with just minutes left.  The Cowboys were driving inside Sooner territory for what would possibly be the winning touchdown.  Sanders was tackled on a 3rd down run just inches from the first down marker at OU’s 20 yard line.  The way Sanders was running the football with over 200 yards, it was almost assured that OSU would pick up the first down.  But OSU fans will never know what might have been because the O-State fullback who had been blocking on that play was called for a personal foul.  Instead of 4th and inches, it became 4th and 15 with the ball on the 35 yard line.  The fullback, Garrett Limbrick, had been doing battle with OU’s big defensive players all afternoon.  With the game on the line and 51 seconds left, he lost his cool, his temper, and was flagged for what the referee called “taunting.”  OSU had one last play that ended in a dropped pass in the end zone.  The final score:  OU–31, OSU–28.

Whether a flag should have been thrown on that 3rd down play at such a critical time can be and has been debated.  The reality is that it was the lack or absence of “self-control” that dramatically affected the outcome of that game.  Sporting events are often just a reflection of everyday life.  In life, there are ups and downs, celebrations and disappointments, wins and losses.  The one ingredient that is necessary for a civilized society is “self-control”.  “Self-control builds the moral consciousness that brings order to a person’s life and helps that person contribute to a sound community.” (Character First Bulletin)   Without “self-control” there is true “bedlam” (wild uproar, chaos, a madhouse).

Self-control is “rejecting wrong desires and doing what is right.”  It is defined as the control of one’s emotions, desires, or actions by one’s own will.  It is moral self-restraint.  “Control” is derived from a Latin phrase that means “against a roll.”  It indicates the ability to resist the natural flow of events. Therefore, self-control is the ability to maintain one’s thoughts, actions, and passions in a right direction, even when the pressure is “rolling” in another direction.

You must make the decision ahead of time that you are going to follow the rules, set limits, and stay cool no matter what.  These goals should be applied to driving a car (road rage is all the rage), over-eating (it’s the holiday season), over-spending (Black Friday / Christmas), over-working, raising a family, and literally every area of life.  Some say their life is out of control.  Well it’s not too late to grab the wheel.  Make a conscious decision to set some goals and limits in those areas that are so chaotic.  Find an accountability partner and practice, practice, practice exercising self-control.  You can do it.  Make “self-control” your daily life choice.  After all, the outcome of the game is at stake.

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