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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Struck Strikes Out:Pickin' up the pieces of college life

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I was visiting with a couple college kids recently when the topic came up a few times of super-talented high school athletes who wind up tarnishing or ruining their image and/or college careers by getting arrested for breaking the law.

It brought to mind my very own college experiences and, although I was never arrested, believe me I easily could have and should have been on multiple occasions.

Looking back, I know the things I did wrong. If I had it all to do over again, I certainly would today make some changes. In fact, I might even have become an attorney, but I just couldn't pass a bar.

It's no secret that the college "3B" syndrome (Beer, Babes, and Bongs) can have luring, yet devastating effects on college students, including young, nubile, stud athletes.

Yessir. That 3B pull on young adults with raging hormones, no curfew, a little jack in the wallet or purse, and a bountiful buffet of available co-eds makes college life one very tempting and difficult social adaptation.

Add to that recipe the peer pressure, homesickness, lonliness, and boredom, and you have one serious Molotov cocktail just waiting to go boom.

What seriously rankles my AARP angst, though, is what scholarship students risk throwing away by partying too hard, running with the wrong crowd, thinking they're above the law, thinking their celebrity on campus will lead authorities to "take it easy" on them, or thinking that good old mom and dad will, once again, fix it all.

Huh-uh, kids. Not gonna happen. Ten feet tall and bullet proof is nothing but a country song.

You've graduated high school, you're away from home for the first time, and that new-found independence and freedom that allows you to make your own choices will torment you and your better judgment throughout your college lives.

Speaking of country music, the iconic George Jones once poignantly wailed, "Living and dying with the choices I've made."

Come to think of it, that's a pretty apt description of college life, both in and out of the classroom.

Yo, students. If you're fortunate enough to attend college on an athletic or academic scholarship, please don't blow it. You're special. A cut above. You've worked hard to develop those skills and God blessed you with ability we all don't have, and your folks and family are so proud of you they tear up just thinking about it.

Who then, are you to drive that car drunk?

Who are you to smoke that weed, or chug that pitcher?

Who are you to assault that girl who keeps saying "no?"

Who are you to shoplift, steal that money or credit card?

Who are you to cut those classes because it's party or hangover time?

Who are you to beat up some no-mind who was dumb enough to lip off, hit on your girl, or take a swing at you?

Who are you to get on the Internet and plagiarize or cheat on your tests? Just who do you think you are, anyway?

Think about it kids. You only go around once. What's wrong with being the best you can be in the short time you have to prove yourself?

Sure, have a little fun, and stop and smell some roses. But don't risk it all for some dangerous or illegal activity just because "everybody's doing it."

I know from experience how tough it can be, but walk your own walk and hang with others who do the same. Please.

And above all, remember...you're the one now in charge of the aftermath.

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