Different worlds

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.



Filed under Recruiting

11 responses to “Different worlds

  1. Deacon Dawg

    Well said, sir.


  2. The Realist

    I read that Billey Joe Johnson piece yesterday. That’s messed up. People need to find their self-worth in something greater than themselves. I’ll leave it at that.


  3. dean

    Classy post Senator.

    I believe it was Greg Blue who said he had to walk past the drug dealers and junkies every day on his way to and from school. How many of us can say we had to deal with that on a daily basis? And if we did how many of us would be where we are today?


  4. Chris

    That is a good word my friend.


  5. Ally

    Great post Senator! Thank you for passing this along.

    That story reminds me of one of our players, and for the life of me I cannot place his name at the moment. He came to UGA from a group home in South Carolina (i think) and from a pretty difficult childhood. Yet he worked hard on the field & in the classroom, has tremendous character & leadership qualities, and is just an outstanding young man of integrity.

    There are many definitions of success, but these examples are truly humbling.

    Completely off topic, but how cool is it to know Jeff Owens follows your blog Senator? Congrats!


  6. BenG

    Ally, I think you’re thinking of Deangelo Tyson:


    Senator, I don’t know how else to get this suggestion to you. This looks like something on which you might like to opine:



  7. Ally


    Thank you -That’s been driving me nuts all day! He has a great story. DGD for sure.


  8. Jimmy

    Well said Man. And great Job blogging for us each day.


  9. Anonymous

    I think I also remember reading that Demarcus Dobbs spent time at Bethesda boys home in Savannah, although he went to Calvary Baptist Day School, so someone was looking out for him. (Come to think of it, that may have been the same article where Coach Fabris mentioned that a lot of scholarship players are sorry as gully dirt–memorable quote for sure.) Tony Wilson is another current player that comes to mind with a difficult family situation.

    The triumph over tragedy stuff makes for great reading, but what strikes me most is what a great environment the UGA football program seems to be for kids who are lacking family support or simply lacking a family altogether.


  10. MJ

    Might be one of the best observations I’ve ever read. Great work, Senator.