Spring Break and Coaches From Every School Hold Their Breath
By: Larry Burton
Living on the “World’s Most Beautiful Beaches”, as advertised by local chamber of commerce here in Panama City Beach, Florida of course has it’s good side, but in spring, it’s fraught with bad times too.
College students with far too much exuberance for fun and far too little common sense hit these beaches and sometimes the results aren’t pretty.
Every year there are arrests, this year there have been hundreds of them so far and we’re not even to the halfway point of the spring break season yet. But far worse are the injuries and deaths that occur when the alcohol overwhelms the seeming invincibility these young people have. As a result, not just worried parents, but football coaches send these young adults farewell for a week and can only hope that things go well.
Last week Mississippi State star quarterback Dak Prescott was only a inch or so from sustaining an injury that could have blinded him in one eye when a scuffle turned into a fight that resulted in someone breaking a bottle on his face. For Prescott, his future in football could have easily ended with just another inch or two in one direction.
Though coaches like Alabama’s Nick Saban doesn’t like to admit it, this is perhaps the one week of the year they dread the most. Not only are the boys of his team almost all engaged in some sort of activity that could cause injury, for most, the temptation to use drugs and alcohol, engage in risky unprotected sex and more are all awaiting them and it’s so hard to turn it all down.
As a resident of these beaches for over 30 years, I’ve seen it all and yet this year is one of the worst. So far hundreds have been arrested and charges with crimes. Fights are more rampant than ever and tempers have seemed shorter than ever.
Saban knows that no one will go on spring break alone and his greatest hope is that players look out for another and that someone in the group has the accountability to keep things from getting out of hand and hopefully stop bad choices from being made. Saban doesn’t just preach individual accountability, but accountability for your friends.
For Alabama fans, let’s hope the worst news we get this week is that of former player Brent Calloway, who was stopped last night at 9:30pm for running a red light and the officer called for a drug dog who found the odor of illegal drugs in the car. He was arrested for possession of “spice”, which is synthetic marijuana and a small bag containing marijuana, Florence, Alabama police said.
As someone who not only reports on the Crimson Tide football team, but as someone who has spent a lifetime working with youth, I can only hope that these young men and ladies have heard the things going on around them and leave these beaches with nothing more than than great memories and a sunburn. That would not only make a parents happy, but a lot of football coaches too.
Larry has been published in almost every media outlet for college sports and now primarily writes here for Touchdown Alabama. Follow Larry on Twitter for inside thoughts and game time comments at https://twitter.com/LBSportswriter
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