Scott Baker’s Walkin’ The Sidelines: Double Trouble

A double dribble in basketball is a violation.

A double hit in volleyball is a violation.

A double play in baseball hurts an offense. A double bogey inflates a golfers score.

Each of those things is problematic. Similarly, a double life for an athlete is a big problem.

As a society, we would be burying our collective heads in the sand if we failed to admit that the use of illegal substances is something that is becoming an ever-increasing problem for our youth. In fact, we would be naive to think it is not an ever-increasing problem across all demographics in our society. Therefore, if we are in fact to recognize that it is a problem in our society as a whole, we would be wise to acknowledge that young athletes are not immune to the problem.

Surely young athletes are tempted by the same stimuli that prompt young people in general to head down the wrong path. Now to be quite clear, young athletes and for that matter, all others have a lot to lose by getting involved with the use of such substances. Some might say that drinking a little bit of alcohol won’t hurt a young athlete. Well, first, drinking alcohol is illegal for those under the age of 21 so there is problem No. 1. Problem No. 2 is that it certainly doesn’t aid in their conditioning. Third, the decisions made as a result of the drinking can be catastrophic. Some might say that smoking a little weed is not going to do much harm. Others might even say it could help.

Really?

First, it is still illegal and second, it surely can’t help with an athlete’s breathing. None of this yet mentions the increased usage of vaping and juuling by our youth.

Now here is the issue. Quite frankly, there are young athletes who are attempting to live a double life when it comes to athletics and partying. In other words, they are claiming to be serious athletes yet in their free time they are heading off to the party to find some beer or weed or perhaps do some vaping or juuling.

That, my friends is just not cool. They are in fact living a double life. What they are doing is living a life with one foot on the banana peel. When you do that, sooner or later you slip and perhaps even fall very hard. First, an athlete living that double life will never achieve their full potential.

Second, those athletes, just like youth and adults in general, run an increased risk of physical harm from the partying activities in which they involve themselves. The biggest issue in all of this is, why are young athletes able to do this?

Why are they able to play by day and party by night?

Alcohol can’t be legally sold to minors, so where do they get the booze that creates the problems? I think we know.

Where are they getting the weed to take a trip? We probably can take a good guess at that as well. Another big question is, where are they doing these things?

Sadly, many know the answer to this question, too. Yes, adults are responsible for most, if not all of this occurring. Either by failing to monitor their child’s activities close enough or by providing the substances and or location for the harmful activities to take place, the adults are enabling the behavior. Surely some will criticize me for this but as the responsible adult that I desire to be, I say to the providers and enablers, “shame on you.”

Yep, you know who you are. You are the parent that lets your kid run free. You are the parent that provides the substances for your kids and their friends. Perhaps you might be the parent that doesn’t provide the substances but rather the location for it to occur. You know, like your home. Yes, we’ve long heard stories of parents telling their kids that they are fine with them drinking as long as they are at home or camp and they don’t leave.

Sorry, but to me that is just wrong. First, it is illegal and second it is dangerous. Because it is both, it is also just plain stupid. For that, I’m not sorry. To the adults out there who are enabling these behaviors among our athletes and youth in general, I plead with you to stop the illegal and irresponsible behavior.

Do the right thing and make your home, camp or property an illegal-substance free zone. Make it a place where kids can go to have fun without any pressure to partake in activities that are illegal and harmful.

Stop being a friend to your kid and start being a parent. They will have much more love and respect for you in the end.

Stop making your home, camp, and property one where kids can go to drink, smoke or do other drugs.

Start being the responsible adult that your kid and all of our kids need.

It is true that none of us are perfect as parents yet we all have the ability to be responsible enough to say, “not on my watch.”

To the athletes, I say, stop being an athlete by day and partier by night. You will never achieve your full potential as long as you continue doing so. At the same time, you run an increased risk of physical harm and danger.

Stop telling yourself that it is OK to be an athlete by day and partier by night. Simply put, it is not. You want to be a real athlete, do what real athletes do.

Real athletes train, take care of their bodies and make wise decisions relative to them.

Real athletes lead by example.

Real athletes are accountable to their teammates.

They don’t cheat their teammates by doing things that keep them from achieving their full potential as either an individual and or as a team.

Stop thinking that you are not going to get caught doing what you’re doing. Sooner or later, you will get caught. Maybe not legally or even by your parents but rather, it will all catch up to you from a performance standpoint.

Unfortunately, as an athlete, you have more to lose than your “friends” who don’t play sports. By the way, those pushing you to use actually aren’t really your friends anyway. What do you have to lose… is the right to play sports.

If you’re an athlete, that is a heavy price.

That might just look like a statement on paper but when and if it happens, it is real and it is perhaps painful. It could result in losing time playing that can never, yes never be restored. That is a hefty price to pay for doing stupid things that you don’t need to do.

Don’t give me the, “everyone is doing it” argument, because that is just baloney.

That is a cop out.

You want to be an athlete? Do the right things, not what you think is popular.

You want to be an athlete? End the double life and live one that an athlete should…all the time.

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