This week, I got to do see a couple of things that just really make me want to shake my head. On one hand disappointed the hell out of me, but on the other end, I just kind of had to walk away and smile.
Earlier in the week, I had to go over to the “Allen Iverson” Crossover something or other camp in Smyrna, Georgia. Unto itself and from a distance a great idea, big time NBA basketball star holds a camp for kids who really need something to do and someone to look up to.
Here is where things start going wrong. First of all, Mr. Iverson didn’t exactly spend a lot of “Time” at his camp. In fact, he appeared for a grand total of about 45 minutes. It gets worse. He was expected at 2pm, showed up at 4pm and then while the campers were ushered to the bleachers to take a group photo with him, he and his boys spent 30 minutes shooting baskets, completely ignoring everything else around them. He eventually, changed into his camp T-shirt and posed with the kids, all of whom couldn’t get enough of being around him. After the photo, he got up and was immediately swarmed, kids asking for autographs and taking pictures. Again, not a bad thing except for him making a comment to his bodyguard “We gotta get out of here”. He eventually did and the kids eventually got there photo with a superstar.
Wanting to be there...
The contrast for me was the next day. The next day, I was at the “Todd France” NFL Players Camp in North Atlanta. You may be asking who Todd France is. Todd is an agent who represents a large amount of players from the North Georgia area who made it to the NFL.
Every year (4), they put on a free camp at a local school for any kid who wants to come. Well, they come alright, probably 300 strong and they get quite the workout. They get a workout because the players are probably more into the whole thing than the kids. Detroit Lion Linebacker Ernie Sims, they call the Taskmaster because he works them hard. But you know what, you should see the smile on the kids face, the smile on Ernie’s face and the hugs that happen every change of periods. All the guys, there were 15+ NFL players there the day I was, were running drills and just having a good time hanging out with the kids.
What is my point?
My point is this: While sitting and waiting for Iverson to show up I had a really interesting conversation with a teacher at Campbell High School. We talked for some time about kids and impressions. She told me how it used to be where kids wanted to grow up and be a pro athlete. They wanted to be in the NBA or NFL and be famous. Now they want to be hip-hop or rap stars, in the recording industry.
The difference is this, according to her; the athletes come in and preach about hard work and going to school, the people in the recording industry, nothing. Nothing about school, nothing about working hard. Just be rich, make money and you’ll be OK. That is all well and good except for the fact that the percentage of people who can do that: almost zero.
Yeah, this kind of gets away from what we were talking about, but at the same time it doesn’t. As much as I don’t like what Iverson did, I respect the fact the he was willing to do it. He did speak about working hard to be successful and not just mailing things in. He did talk about getting an education and how important it was and I can respect that. Same with the NFL guys, they couldn’t talk enough about education, hard work, staying and school in order to be successful.
Despite the athletes you hear about breaking the law and doing dumb things, the large percentage of them are guys who want to set a good example. Some don’t always do it the best way, but they do it the only way that they no how to. It may register with a kid, it may not, but at least they try.
“The time has come, my song is over, thought I’d something more to say” Time (Pink Floyd)