An article in the Southeast Missourian, Former NFL player talks to local athletes about making right choices, details Rich Garza's visit to Southeast Missouri State's baseball team last Monday. His purpose, to teach athletes that what happens to them in life is really all "about choices."
Garza clarified for these ball players the idea that "Freedom is not about doing what you want to do; freedom is doing what you ought to do..." and "If you're breaking the law, you're not going to have your freedom." He drives home this point (improper choices and the loss of one's freedom) through the use of imposing statistics regarding the large number of individuals locked up in the U.S. prison system, pointing out that nearly 1 million of them are between the ages of 18 and 29.
It's very tough for anyone, even young adults, to argue with this type of reasoning, especially when convincing statistics fully supporting one's thought process are staring them right in the face. Of course, it doesn't hurt when the individual presenting those statistics is a former professional athlete.
Personally, I find it encouraging that Mr. Garza is taking the time, something he apparently does a lot (5,000 times to students in classrooms, fields and gyms throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and South Africa), to inspire young athletes to take a good, hard look at the choices they make, and how these choices impact their future. There are not enough athletic superstars taking the initiative to make such a difference. In fact, those who demonstrate poor behavior through the choices they make, during and after their careers, seem to outnumber athletes like Rich Garza.
Hey, Tiger Woods, Michael Vick, Lawrence Taylor, Roger Clemens, you guys listening? Take a note from Rich Garza's playbook:
"You're not a born winner, you're not a born loser, you're a born chooser."
You tell 'em, Rich!!!