Here are a couple of stories that have nothing to do with each other, besides reminding us that some of these kids we hover over and pass judgment on as they make decisions about where they’ll spend the next four years of their lives come from places that are so different from our comfortable middle class backgrounds as to be almost impossible for us to comprehend.
There are some kids like Montez Robinson…
Robinson was born in Alabama, but since he was a young child, he had been a ward of the state. With eight younger siblings, he was thrust into the role of an adult early on, and his hard work and determination on the football field has been just a small piece of what he has accomplished in his life, Garner said.
“Here’s a kid that came from a very difficult set of circumstances, but yet he was able to rise up and is going to be able to do something special with his life,” Garner said.
… and there are some kids like Billey Joe Johnson.
… Piles of recruiting letters litter the back seat, the remnants of life as one of the most sought-after running backs in the Class of 2010. Alabama wanted Billey Joe. So did Notre Dame. And dozens of other schools. He was ready to commit to Auburn. By many accounts Billey Joe was a popular, big-dreaming, clean-living kid. So it’s no wonder his father stands in the yard next to a single-wide trailer, trying to play forensic expert. Searching – like many in this rural community – for answers about who shot his son.
Local authorities stopped Billey Joe for a traffic violation on the morning of Dec. 8, and they say the truck is simply the site of a terrible tragedy. But to the elder Johnson, it’s a crime scene.
Nearly two months later, only one fact is certain: Instead of running out of George County as a football hero, Billey Joe was buried beneath it at the age of 17.
There’s no rhyme or reason to any of this, why one kid makes it and one kid doesn’t. Or what path either of them took to get where he did. But maybe we should cut ’em all a little more slack than we do sometimes as we get wrapped up in the hype of the recruiting chase.