Aug 10, 2012
I remember well March of 2006. I was still a golf professional, and had worked out a gig through contacts at my club to coach boys JV HS basketball, as well as assist with the boys and girls golf teams in the spring, all for a local private high school. Basketball went well, and March brought a golf/tennis camp trip to Florida with all the kids who were trying out for the teams. I had just turned 44, and my son Joshua was just over a month old. Yea, the wife wasn't so excited about the trip.
There were fairly strict rules about curfews and such, and the place was basically an isolated resort, so you couldn't really leave on your own.
One evening, the trip coordinators arranged a bus ride to a local "arcade," featuring two kinds of go carts, batting cages, video gaming, etc. We were waiting for everyone to board the bus to head back to the resort. I was sitting with one of the tennis coaches when I heard one of his boys behind us state the following to a friend sitting next to him:
"I don't understand why they treat us like children. I mean, we are 17, we shouldn't have to deal with a curfew."
Without hesitating, I turned around in my seat and said the following (this was over 6 years ago, so I might not remember it exactly, but it's close enough):
"I know you'll pass me off as the uncool adult who doesn't understand you, but there is something I understand that you can't understand until your my age, and that is you are stupid. You might be really intelligent, but that doesn't make you smart. You see, I remember being your age, and I was a raging, maniacal idiot. Not because I wasn't intelligent, but because it is impossible at your age to have the judgment and wisdom brought by experience. You don't get that every little move you make now has the potential to alter your life, possibly forever. The rest of your life seems so far away, but you will realize when you are me that it goes by in the blink of an eye. When you're 20, you'll think about how dumb you were at 16. When you're 30, you'll wonder how you survived being 20. At 40, you'll look back at the fool who was 30, and so on."
"So you have a curfew for your own protection. The fact is, many of you could be trusted to be out on your own, but since we don't know which on of you that is, we restrict everyone in order to protect the few who would damage themselves and possibly others. So now that I've bored you to death, you can go back to bitching about curfew on a week long all expenses paid holiday provided by your parents."
Needless to say, I am not on that kid's Christmas card list...
These athletes are kids. Period.
Adrenaline. Testosterone. Poor judgment. Perfect ingredients for the "let's fuck up" cocktail. Add some drugs or alcohol and you have guaranteed foolishness. I won't even go into the egos fostered by the stardom of the little pond.
There's so many of them, it has to be impossible to keep track of them all. Basketball is a much smaller group, but still, what are you going to do? Assign baby sitters for everyone? I can guarantee kids would have hated playing for me. The baskeball stuff would have been fine, but the off the court rules would have been oppressive, and curfews would have been #1...bed checks...girl checks...
And for the Cowboys, it will only get tougher.
You see, OSU has for years only had to deal with a diva or two. Recruiting meant getting kids who need to prove their worth. Now that Stillwater is attracting championship caliber talent, they will also get championship caliber egos, kids who feel either entitled or bulletproof. Athletes who have been coddled and "yessed," never told no or made to toe the line. Or maybe kids who are just plain stupid, whose talent got them past the roadblocks.
This is the water we have always wanted to swim in, the deep end of the pool.
Oh how I wish they all slept in one place and had a curfew.