I remember when I first turned 21. You know what my first thought was? I thought to myself, then shouted aloud "I'm old enough to buy beer and get into night clubs." When I was 22 years old I was still a senior in college looking for the next party, trying to have as much fun as I possibly could. Then when I turned 23 I graduated from college and still found myself living back in my parents house because I wasn't mentally or financially ready to be on my own. I needed my parents guidance to prepare me for what was about to come. Because they were there to support me and give the best advice is why I was able to stay afloat as I got older and learned the ways of the world.
You see, it isn't what you learn in school or how may books you read. One can only gain knowledge through living and the experiences that go along with it. People need to learn things hands on, not sitting in a classroom daydreaming about your girlfriend.
Here's my point folks. Let's send a world wide memo out to the sports media not to treat rookie athletes as if they were the President of the United States. We scrutinize and ridicule every single move these kids make. Cameras are constantly hidden trying to capture an athletes next controversial move. Every time a quarterback goes to the podium after a big game and let's out his true feelings, we judge and stone him for being a real live person. Now you know why some athletes are reserved during interviews.
These kids are 22, 23 years old and being thrown into an adult, real life professional atmosphere. There's a learning curve that the media has forgotten existed. Major networks spend hours a day talking about Manti Te'o and his fake girlfriend. Brent Musberger made and awkward comment about Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron's girlfriend and it was the top story for 3 days. Cam Newton hangs his head after a bad play or loss and we criticize him for being upset. Is it too much to ask to stop and realize that these are young adults who haven't even fully developed yet and we treat them as if they were gods. This must be stopped.
Can you imagine the pressure of being a young 22 year old young man and having to deal with constant pressure from the moment you wake up to the second before you fall asleep every day? As if it isn't bad enough having to worry about your job and preparing for the next game, but having to refrain from watching TV or picking up a newspaper because something is going to be written about you.
These young kids are going to make mistakes because the reality is that they aren't adults and even adults make mistakes. They are trying to become adults along with having the spotlight on them 24/7. Think about how guys like Steven Strasburg and Mike Trout live, or how about RGIII and Andrew Luck! Remember how we watched LeBron James high school basketball games 10 years ago. You want to talk about pressure!
Then adding more to the nonsense the media pays attention to, they also like to dig deep into these players personal lives. How many children does Antonio Cromartie have? Does Derek Jeter have a new girlfriend? What's the latest on Dwayne Wade's marital status? Shut up already! This is their personal business. If certain athletes choose to make their personal issues public knowledge then that's on them. But the media creates these unnecessary situations and we as fans forget that athletes are just people like us. Yet we want their autograph one night, then curse them out the following night for shooting 3 of 19 from the field.
For everyone out there who is around the age of 21 years old. Put yourself in RGIII or Andrew Luck's shoes. Even Cam Newton who is very young and has had to deal with things his young mind simply wasn't able to deal with. This is why these young men need as much guidance as possible. They all should have someone or a group of people they trust whom they can go to for anything and everything. We all could use a mentor or some wise men, be it a family member, a teammate or a coach. With all the constant pressure and criticism these young boys face on a daily basis, it would be great if they can all have a support group to go to. It's not their fault, it's just the way the world is now. It's a technology driven, everything happens right now type of environment so we all must be careful.