This past weekend in our great city of Atlanta, The Celebration Bowl kicked off the college football bowl season, with a great contest between two Historically Black College and University Powers: North Carolina A&T State University of the MEAC and Grambling State University of the SWAC.
A&T came out on top 21-14 to win their second championship in three years and solidify their place as one of the premiere institutions in all of the land. The football game was tremendous with two heavyweights “duking it out” for HBCU supremacy.
The chess matches on both sides of the ball were classic, with obvious attention to detail happening in the preparation but a mutual respect for what each team is capable of in the psyche of the players. It was almost a shame that one team had to lose this game.
After all the confetti fell and players had time to settle down in their reflective places, the main characters for both teams attended post-game press conferences and took questions from reporters. The primary questions stemmed from the x’s and o’s of the game but there was a deeper philosophical connection that both teams emphasized, the concept of the importance of personal development and the HBCU.
Davante Kincade, a quarterback from Grambling State, said something very profound after the loss. Although he has had a stellar career for the Tigers, he has only been there two years. He was a “big time” prospect from Dallas and originally played at the University of Mississippi where he got significant playing time, but after the Celebration Bowl on Sunday, Kincade was asked about his two-year journey from Ole Miss to Grambling.
“It’s a blessing,” Kincade said. “I would like to thank Coach Fobbs for giving me the opportunity to play quarterback. I didn’t know about the HBCU life because growing up, the hype was to go to a big Division 1 school.
“If I could have come out of high school I would have come to Grambling just to get a real college experience,” he continued. “No matter your position or contribution to the team they will treat you like a star.”
Head Coach Broderick Fobbs went a little deeper into what Grambling and HBCUs in general offer to young men.
“Our program is unique because we pour into young people the right things,” Fobbs said.
“I always say light can do two things: it can blind you from the truth or shed light on the truth. Universities shed light on facilities, uniforms, stainless steel lockers, tv’s and waterfalls but you can’t take any of that with it,” he added. “The only that matters are what you are pouring into your players educationally, in his development as a man, and lastly football-wise. I think our kids are thirsting for that. When you walk out the door the only thing you are doing is renting the facility for four to five years.”
It is very easy to sing the praises of the significance of athletics and bands in HBCU life, but they continue to be more relevant than ever in personal growth and development, education, and even the political spectrum as the black college is re-emerging as one of the epicenters of black think tanks and grassroots organizing.
Therefore, as victories are collected on the field, court, and diamond, be conscious of the ways HBCUs shape the world. They remain as relevant today as they EVER have and that is always a reason to celebrate.