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My words of wisdom: ?Be cool !'

By Jeffery Armstrong

Since I'm a sports junkie, I'll talk about sports at length with just about everyone. There's nothing I like better than debating sports topics with people, especially those folk who THINK they know sports. (Not that I know everything about sports, but as most drug junkies know their drugs, I know my sports).

I love to talk sports and other things to the coaches and young athletes I cover on a regular basis during the school year. When I'm talking to the high school athletes, I sometimes forget that I'm several years older than them. I start talking to them like they're guys I've known all my life. I have to catch myself and end the conversations at some point. Why? Because I've found that not too many young guys want to talk to adults for a long period of time, especially adults that are close in age to their parents.

I went to Clayton State twice this week to do a couple of stories on their high school basketball camp and I saw and heard some disturbing things about these high school ball players. So I feel compelled to talk to the young male athletes in my column this week. Hopefully, you guys will listen to me since I'm not your coach, parent or school administrator. I'm addressing the guys because I really haven't seen or heard about female athletes doing really stupid crap.

Guys, you have to "cool out" and take advantage of your good fortune. Playing high school sports is a privilege, not a birthright. Sure, you're popular with the girls, but that doesn't make you any better than the math whiz or the journalism student.

Despite what your parents, friends and fellow athletes may say, all of you aren't the greatest things since carrot cake on the basketball court, football field, baseball field, wrestling mat, etc. All of you won't go straight to the NBA after high school like LeBron James, with millions in his pocket; in fact, many of you will have to work very hard and be blessed just to go to college on a full scholarship and get drafted.

I'm just being real and you guys have to understand this. I'm hearing from coaches that a lot of you aren't working on jump shots and defense; all y'all want to do is dunk over everyone. Also, some of you are failing classes, getting in trouble with the law, cursing coaches and the like. That's won't get you anywhere except imprisoned if you're behavior gets worse.

And speaking of cursing, I saw one player from Crim High curse when he was called for a foul against Griffin in one of the camp games.

The referee promptly gave him a technical foul for that. What's up with cursing during a summer-league camp game?

You basketball guys need to stop griping at the refs.

You're not going to get every foul against you called, and yes, you did foul the big guy in the post. Stop whining like Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers. Now I understand that many of you guys' home lives aren't the greatest. You're probably raised by a single parent who's struggling to survive and raise you to be a successful man. All you need to do is work hard in the classroom, on the court or field and be respectful of your elders. If not, you may be on the sidelines watching teammates get the glory.

Jeffery Armstrong is a sports writer for the Daily. He can be reached at jarmstrong@news-daily.com.