TIME OUT: Avenues towards the American dream

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The American dream is still alive and well in this country. That includes the great state of Alabama. The opportunity to improve one’s life is forever before us.

What is the American dream? It’s the idea that everyone in the United States has the chance to achieve success and prosperity.

It’s a dream that a host of high school and college athletes alike envision. There are many ways for one to attain a successful and satisfying life. Sports is just one of the ways.

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I believe hard work alone will not guarantee success or prosperity. Success, prosperity, and a satisfying life can be achieved by hard work with the right vehicle.

As the college and high school spring semester approaches, student-athletes will make their decision on the direction or avenue they desire in the pursuit of the American dream.

High school student-athletes will determine if they would continue to pursue athletics on the college level or focus academically.

College student-athletes will make a decision on pursuing a professional career in a given sport, depending on the level of their skills, of course. Those with a degree in hand will have other options.

There have always been athletes that have a skill level so high that they forgo the option of opportunity of attending college and opt to go right into professional sports.

Some professional sports leagues are promoting the attendance of college of its incoming athletes. Though they have a hardship clause, the National Football League players have a higher percentage of athletes completing college than any other professional league.

The National Basketball League has rearranged its ruling where now an athlete must attend at least one year of college before applying for the NBA. Most of the women in the young WNBA have completed four years of college.

Major League Baseball has no such clause, as is the National Hockey League. An athlete can enter into either of these leagues straight from high school.

Though the Professional Golf Association is open to any one, you must qualify to get in. The PGA’s roster consists of a majority of players with college degrees.

The bottom line is sports are an option for any one to pursue the American dream.

I believe college is very important in the development of the youth of this great country; it’s just that a college degree doesn’t guarantee success. But, one’s odds of achieving a successful life can be enhanced with a college degree.

All of us should have a goal of living consciously and responsibly. We should also have a goal of making a difference in our own personal life, in the lives of our families, our community, and our country. I believe we should strive to achieve success in those areas as well. It’s all a part of the American dream.

See you at the baseball diamond, or at the soccer field, or on the tennis court, or on the golf course, or maybe at the track meet.

James Gilmore is the sports editor of The Demopolis Times. He can be reached by e-mail to james.gilmore@demopolistimes.com.