Written by Mikey Ward.
Every Man A Panther. This acronym has become has become Greenville College Football’s moniker. Like any acronym, this term has become an identity for the twenty-five year program. Instilled in 2001 by a coach named Kessler, this phrase has transcended the program and has aided the Greenville campus with associating each football member with an identity—a not so comforting one. Once warranted, the term EMAP was accompanied by rumors of questionable lifestyles for every member. In fact, this term tainted all who were associated: players, coaches, girlfriends, etc. It in itself created a sub-culture within Greenville’s infamous sense of community. However, with the hiring of Ordell Walker, the term EMAP has taken on a new meaning. Observable in my tenure as a member of the football team, this man has worked diligently on each individual within the program rather than emphasizing the all-encompassing moniker. Consequently, he has created a new connotation for EMAP: Biblical Football.
Although this new connotation is observable, the term EMAP continues to be fodder for a majority of Greenville. But one should go further and observe that EMAP is now centered in love. Love for one another, but also the community that allows this love to foster between a hundred plus young men. It just so happens that one can find love for humanity in the least loving of mediums, especially football. This incessant message of “Biblical Football” becomes a part of each of these men. It is engrained in them, in their present and their future.
That being said, the present predicament the football program finds itself in could easily become future fodder. This is not the first, nor the last, time a former member has been associated with illegal activity. However, this is and will continue to be a component of Biblical Football. Walker’s program is a football-centered Mission. This means that there will be those who demonstrate the difficulty such a program places itself in. it is centered in transformation, not recruiting cookie-cutter, and obedient individuals. So quickly as a community we condemn those that sway from Greenville’s expected lifestyle and neglect to see the good resulting from our student-athletes and specifically, EMAP. All Greenville sports teams, led by Doug Faulkner, are attempting to be transformative in young peoples’ lives and those within such a community should not condemn, but rather come alongside them.
This condemnation is reflected by the many times I have heard those within our community speak poorly about our institution’s willingness to accept borderline student-athletes. However, I would like to submit Trendon Amuzie as an example on how transformative Greenville and EMAP can be. If you do not know this incredible young man personally, then you probably know him as the one with a contagious laugh and smile around campus. Nevertheless, Greenville and EMAP has evoked a transformation within Trendon and has led him into becoming a truer form of him. This is reflective of his demeanor and insatiable desire for wisdom. Amuzie is now an academic coach and one of the most respected individuals on Greenville’s campus. However, this was through a wealth of work over the past four years: by Amuzie and by the EMAP sub-culture. I could cite several other examples, but will cease to digress.
In the wake of troubling events on Greenville’s campus, let us stray from condemnation, but celebrate those who make this two-block institution so transformative. Each of us has varying interests and modes of being transformed. However, constant throughout is love and the intentionality of relationships. Our small population allows us to cross the barrier of sub-cultures. Thus, I ask that we, as a community, take advantage of this opportunity. Therefore, the moniker of EMAP will cease to be relevant to the Greenville College Football program. Rather, the term EMAP [Every Man A Panther], although extremely cheesy, will encompass what the football program, but the institution at large is attempting to accomplish: to authentically transform lives through a multitude of mediums. In this we will learn what unites us: a desire to become a truer form of self, differences and all. Let us celebrate our differences and come to the realization that EMAP is no longer a negative connotation, but a group of men who are led by a man who seeks to transform each young man’s life through the crazy medium of x’s, o’s, and love.