As I was reading the Plain Dealer at McD's this morning, read "Glenville Wins Meet." Of course, being the high school sports guy that I am, my thoughts turned to Latwan Anderson and his record setting day. You see, he broke Robert Smith's 20 year record in the 200 meters at the Mansfield Mehock Relays. Record - 21.3. He also ran 48.03 in the 400 and achored both the 4/2 and the 4/4. That is smokin!!!!
As you know, I made the statement once that I would not want really want to coach him, but in the times I have chatted with him, he was fun. Now, he "dances to his own drummer," no doubt, but the kid can play football. A top 3 player in Ohio. I thought that the "U" was pretty serious about him, when they called and asked for some full game video. He has committed to Miami to run track, but, of course, he is playing football next fall. (No football scholarships left). Now, the irony. Robert Smith's accomplishments at O-State are legendary. Represents the university well. But Robert, like many of us, had some issues,too. But these were in the classroom.
Finally, a day in the sports pages, when Ben Roethlisberger's name was not even mentioned. In fact, I double checked the sports pages. Ben was "Joe All-American " boy growing up. Lost his mother at a young age. Gifted with tremendous athletic ability. Watched him play QB as a sophomore. Made the switch t WR as a junior. Came back to QB as a senior. Contrary to all of the media hype, he did not start playing QB as a senior. All state basketball player. Really believe he went to Miami because he was going to try to play both b-ball and football. Whatever- Ben was and is a "natural " winner. Have not talked with him since his second year with the Steelers. I doubt that he would remember me, either for real or pretend. By the way, on paper, I had him rated the third best QB in Ohio his senior year.
THE WHOLE POINT of this entry is just this. No matter in what socio-economical envoirnment an athlete "grows-up," a lack of self-discipline can eventually destroy him. Whether in the inner-city of such cities as Cleveland or Cincinnati, or in the smaller cities as Findlay or Westerville, a lack of good judgment or self control can really hurt, or in some cases,destroy a potential career. ATHLETES: Do not blame your coaches, do not blame your parents, do not blame your friends, and do not blame the fans that support you. Take the brunt of the blame yourself. Integrity is almost a hidden quality anymore. "If you have to think whether something is right or wrong, ... it is wrong."
As I say over and over and over, I am a "kid's guy." I am not a "jock sniffer," trying to get the scoop. And, yes, I am "old school." Heck, I am 61 years young, I should be. But it really hurts(makes me sick), when you see "kids" who provide so much fun and pleasure to us sports fans, become poor examples to our EVEN YOUNGER sports fans. End of sermon. Time for church.