Mahone column: Memories, keepsakes should not be for sale

It occupies a little space in my wife's jewelry box.

The net value of the tarnishing gold football is zero. But to me, it's priceless.

In this day when college athletes are pawning off their bowl-game jerseys, watches, rings and any other memorabilia, I would have never sold this piece of jewelry.

Granted it has no retail value, it has represented something special.

The small gold football was given, make that earned, by every player on my 1982 Region 5-AA championship team.

It represents the sacrifice and hard work it took in bringing some school pride and earning a trip to the playoffs. Back then (as my kids would say the old days), only one team from the region advanced to the playoffs.

It was something special to be the sole representative from your region in the playoffs.

For many of today's athletes, bowl trips and championship memorabilia is taken for granted.

In the recent months, we have heard about the Ohio State five - Terrelle Pryor, Dan Herron, DeVier Posey, Mike Adams and Solomon Thomas. They are the Buckeye players that sold anything and everything pertaining to Ohio State football for tattoos.

Former Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green ran afoul of the NCAA this past season for selling his bowl jersey. In 2003, nine Bulldog players sold their SEC championship rings on eBay.

It was a 20-year gap between the school's last SEC championship and the 2002 team's accomplishment. Talk about no sentimental value.

"To sell the very thing that symbolized the accomplishment of the team is hurtful to me," said former athletic director Vince Dooley at the time.

Last spring, a jewelry collector came to a yard sale in my neighborhood looking to give cash for unwanted jewelry. My neighbors' wife brought out his high school football championship ring.

The guy was willing to give him a few hundred bucks in cash for the ring. My neighbor pointed to the two scars on his knees, and said it wasn't for sale. Two painful knee operations netted him a tarnishing state championship ring, and it wasn't going to the highest bidder.

Do you hear that A.J. Green!

Blood, sweat and tears means little to this generation.

It's all about, "Show me the money."

The Ohio State five pawned off all they owned to get all "tatted up" last year.

It was a fire sale for Pryor, who sold off his 2008 Fiesta Bowl sportsmanship award, his Big Ten championship ring and the coveted "gold pants" trinket, which is a charm given to Ohio State players who are part of a victory over hated rival Michigan.

It doesn't matter to him the long hours of sacrifice and pain to reach those accomplishment.

It was all about the dollar bill and more tattoos.

Some people know the price of everything, but the value of nothing. Every thing is not for sale.

My daughter's room is covered with memorabilia, trophies, medals and pictures from the many accomplishments she has made in swimming. I asked if she wanted to sell any of those items.

"No," said Kamaria, a 12-year-old. "I've worked too hard for those things. Plus, when I get older I will have something to look back on."

Good answer.

Wish these other knucklehead athletes felt the same way.

Derrick Mahone covers sports for the Clayton News Daily and Henry Daily Herald. He can be reached at dmahone@news-daily.com.