Darryl Gamble makes the discovery that he’s not in a New Year’s Day/BCS bowl any more.
Of course, there is something of a stigma to playing in the city in northwest Louisiana. Shreveport, for all its potential charm, remains a mystery for most of the Bulldogs, many of whom said they had to look up information on the Internet just to learn where it was located.
“All I’ve heard is that it’s cold and urban,” linebacker Darryl Gamble said. “It’s not like the ones I’ve been to in the past.”
Yeah, it’s pretty funny to note the sizeable contingent of Florida players who’ve been discovered to be traffic ticket scofflaws, but it’s little more than an amusing sideshow, when you get down to it.
On the other hand, this story about incoming Florida recruit Lynden Trail’s gang pose on his MySpace page is sobering. Not because he was dumb enough to post it in the first place, or lie about what the picture represented, but because of this:
… Trail said that when the photo was taken several years ago, he was “what you’d call a wannabe.” He said he never carried a gun or committed crimes. According to a search on the Web site of the Miami-Dade clerk’s office, Trail has no criminal record in Dade County. He also said that if a young man in his neighborhood doesn’t align himself with one group or another, he opens himself up to danger. He spoke of times when he had guns pointed in his face, and his knowledge of particular gang members kept him from getting shot.
“They say you have two choices,” he said. “It’s either get down or lay down.” “Get down” means align yourself with a group. “Lay down” means get killed. Trail said he wants to succeed in college so he can escape his neighborhood, so he never has to worry about making that choice again.
Now, I’ve got no idea how truthful this story is. And in a sense, I’m not sure it matters. This kid is coming out of an alien environment from my perspective – even if that explanation is a fiction, what’s he gone through to provide that kind of justification? I’m not sure I can fully grasp that.
And I wonder how coaches like Mark Richt and Urban Meyer do it. Calibrating the future of someone like Trail has to be tough.