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Lesson Learned

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Note: I ran into a formatting issue that apparently hosed up the blog for folks using Internet Explorer. That is fixed now which you would know because you are reading this.

Excerpts of Ty Lawson's essay he wrote in connection with his plea bargain.

All of us have dreams. Our parents have dreams for us. We have our own dreams. Student athletes start out when they are very young practicing a sport. They spend hours working hard to get good. Their parents spend hours and hours taking them to practice, feeding them, helping them become the athlete they become. My own parents have given up everything to help me become what I am. They have spent thousands of dollars to help me become what I want to be.

All that is thrown away in an instant if I drink and drive. All of the hours I spent practicing. All of my coaches’ hours spent helping me. All of my parents’ hours taking me from game to game, practice to practice. All of the money they have spent to help me get better. It can all be for nothing if I make a stupid decision. And that does not even take into consideration what I could do to my team and my teammates. I am a part of a team. I have an obligation to that team, my coaches, my teammates and the University of North Carolina. The University and Coach Williams have given me a huge benefit. I have a scholarship to go to one of the best (and in my opinion THE BEST) University in the country. I have help with classes. I have help with my basketball skills. I have help becoming an honorable human being who can contribute to society. And I can do that while doing what I enjoy most -- playing basketball. I love my teammates. I depend on them and they depend on me.

This event and the movie Smashed made me realize that with one bad judgment -- one bad decision to drink and drive --  I can ruin all of that. I could hurt the University and let them down. I could hurt my teammates and ruin their chances of winning the NCAA. I could hurt my coaches who have spent hours and hours helping me. I could hurt my parents who spent hours and their money making me what I am. And I could hurt myself or worse, someone else. The movie Smashed showed how the lives of so many people are changed forever, just because someone made a bad decision to drink and drive.

Like the movie Smashed, we all saw what can happen when a good person and athlete makes a bad decision and drives after drinking. One of our tennis players here hit two students and hurt them after driving his car and drinking. The girls are in the hospital and hopefully will be OK. But they were hurt just walking down the street. He has had to leave school, lose his scholarship, and give up all the years of training and hard work he and his parents have done to make him a scholarship athlete. He now faces serious criminal charges that will cost he and his family a lot and will be with him for the rest of his life. Hopefully the girls will recover, but it will be hard for them too because they are out of school while they recover. And the teammates of Chris will be hurt too. They have a great team and will now be missing one of the star players.

As I have said before, it is wonder to me when anyone who is in the position these guys are in succumb to these levels of stupidity.  It sounds as though this experience and what happened to Chris Kearney who was arrested this past weekend for DUI after he struck to female students at UNC, has made an impact on the junior guard.  Hopefully it will carry forth for the rest of his life.