Education is key

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 31, 2003

In this job I get a chance to meet many of the youths from the area, and interact with them on a one-on-one basis. Most of the kids that I get to talk to are athletes, and most of them are well-educated, classy individuals.

Today I had the pleasure of talking to a group of kids from Maplesville High School, and I wasn’t disappointed with them one bit.

Most of the athletes that I get to speak with are a product of their environment. If they have stable home lives, and are allowed the chance to do well in school and on the ball field, the rest of it falls into place.

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Some of these kids under stand that aspect of the ball field.

They realize that the ability to play a sport well gives them a chance in life that they might not normally have. That’s the chance to parlay the ability to play sports into a college education, and if anything else comes from their talent so be it.

Don’t misunderstand me, there are a lot of kids out there who get this, but there are a lot out there who don’t.

The kids I had a chance to talk to today wanted to be everything from veterinarians to physical therapists to lawyers to engineers. Some of them were athletes and some were not. But all of them were well-spoken kids who had direction in their lives. This comes from teachers, parents and many other places.

It shows up in their ability to be able to look ahead in their lives and to focus on what they need to do to obtain their goals.

But what a lot of high school athletes don’t realize is that just because they stand out in high school doesn’t mean that they are going to go off to college and be stand outs. There are a lot of kids out there that would do anything to be able to attend college on a scholarship. There are kids out there whose families make too much for them to qualify for financial aid, or maybe their grades aren’t quite good enough to be considered for an academic scholarship. These are the kids who would give anything for the chance to attend college.

What student athletes don’t realize a lot of times is that in high school they might have been the big dog, but in college they are starting over as low man on the totem pole. A lot of them don’t even get the chance to start at the college level, and very few of them go any further than the college level. If they could realize that the chance to get the free education is probably the most important thing about getting the scholarship, they would be better off.

There are a lot of coaches and parents out there that instill this in their kids from the get go, and these are the student athletes that will go on to accomplish the things that they have always wanted to do.

And to the kids that I had the pleasure of talking to on Thursday, good luck in everything you do.