WRITER’S NOTE: This article originally appeared on the now-defunct Yahoo! Voices network on April 27, 2012. The article is no longer available on Yahoo’s network. Reprinted here as the author of original work.
Tires that have been worn, stripped, shredded, ripped, torn in half and dumped in an empty field.
There usefulness has expired. No longer wanted. Sitting in emptiness.
What becomes of athletes whose usefulness is no longer needed?
When they are battered and bruised. Broken and stripped of talents and gifts that they were created with. Worn out beyond their life span.
Are they discarded like these worn tires? Or are they given the tools needed to succeed beyond their “sports-life span”?
I often wonder if high school and college athletes are getting the education they need. Education as in life skills. Life skills for “after” sports.
Invariably, there will always be a post-sports life. What happens then? True, there are those athletes who have the skills to succeed but many don’t. Would we see athletes leave school early for the NBA or NFL, only to find they are no longer wanted or needed like before? Who fills their head with dreams of fame and fortune, yet reality screams ‘THERE IS MORE TO LEARN’?
We call them student-athletes. Athletes on the field or court. Students in traditional classrooms. What do they learn in high school and college? Reading, writing and arithmetic? If one has a learning disability, is he simply passed along so he graduates (high school) to get that scholarship or maintains his eligibility (college), all in the name of bringing glory to the school? The greater the glory….the greater the money that comes in right?
What if the “student-athlete” does not know how to track his money? Open a bank account? Use a debit card? Recognize the psychology (motives) of those around him? Does he know how to use social media effectively? Can he recognize a potentially “bad” situation? Has he surrounded himself with people who will give him truth not just a “yes”? Will he believe the agent that promises him first round draft status, despite his undraftable skills? What about making decisions for the future?
When the lights and cameras fade away, all the athlete has left is his life. Does he know how to make it without the sports, the fame, the fortune, the “yes” people, the lights, the adulation from fans? What then?
Discarded athletes. Discarded tires.