On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS September 2, 2013 #452     Up Next…Implosions?

After further review…My Alhambra High School (Ca.) principal Dr. Norm Scherer would often remind our student body that “about 2% of you are misbehaving and giving our school a bad name”. He went on to say that it was up to 100% of us to maintain proper behavior on and off campus. He didn’t use the word “implode” (“to burst inward”), but the more modern term was implicit in his caution.

In today’s world it seems to happen to many seeking fame. Lindsay Lohan (27) in and out of legal trouble and rehab; Amanda Bynes (27) with a stretch of bad behavior; Justin Bieber (19); Britany Spears (31); each with well-publicized wrong turns. The list goes on. Is that 2% number greater in young people with careers who are in show business? Many sports stars also implode!

Adam “Pacman” Jones, with his violent misadventures in Las Vegas; Michael Vick in his dog-fighting days; Johnny “Football” Manziel and his evident poor decisions. Is it fame and huge sums of money that lure stars into egregious behavior? How can it be corrected?

The answer can be found in good parenting. Unfortunately, that isn’t the background of many celebrities. Sometimes, as was the case at my high school, individuals deliberately turn away from strong, clear guidance, if it gets no confrontation at home. A large number of suddenly-wealthy performers and athletes come from disadvantaged environments or, perhaps, single-parent homes. But that doesn’t mean a positive example can’t be achieved.

The expression “You can take the boy outa the ‘hood’, but you can’t take the ‘hood’ outa the boy”, doesn’t have to be a truism. There are numerous great examples of those who have reached beyond negative early environments to become good citizens. In the absence of good parents, mentors abound. We all need mentors! How about the sport stars’ agents? Unfortunately, many agents work to get their clients the best salary possible, but fail to take the time or interest to guide them on a safe path toward personal success.

The keys to a long, healthy career, it seems here, are to surround oneself with positive influences, to listen, and to make smart choices. The good news is many are doing that. Unfortunately, it’s that 2% that hogs all the publicity.

Will you recognize and heed the wisdom of those who can help you be truly successful in life?

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