Children are dreamers. This one of the many things I adore about them. They have the desire to succeed, the energy to do all things, the ability to truly believe in magic that we as adults no longer yearn for. Basically, I am jealous.
The problem with today’s world is the reality check that many children are getting way to early in life. Instead of wanting to be an astronaut or the president of the United States, some kids are forced to accept the less extraordinary positions and eventually lose the ability to believe in something more in life. When these situations occur, grades start to fall, problems arise within school , and sometimes that flame that once burned so bright dampens.
What this world is in need of are modern-day super heroes! I believe that athletes can be these heroes. High school athletes, college athletes, and or pro athletes. People of this generation are almost obsessed with sports so why not ask them to be responsible trend setters in their everyday life?
That is exactly what many universities are doing these days. One in particular is the University of Oklahoma. The sports program at OU instills great moral values within their student athletes; constantly encouraging them to set good examples, study hard, practice harder, etc. Even after college many of these athletes continue to teach life lessons to younger versions of themselves and try to make the world a better place, one child at a time.
Former OU Deep Snapper Derek Shaw stopped by Garfield Elementary in his hometown of Sand Springs, Oklahoma to do just that; inspire a child. Mrs. Jackson’s 5th grade class welcomed Shaw with open arms and questions galore. “Did you know Sam Bradford?” was one question by an eager boy. Shaw’s reply was humbling. “Yes and still do. Sam is a great guy and I am proud of what he is accomplishing in the pro’s.”
Shaw told his story to the wide-eyed classroom. He told them how he wasn’t always a great student and he played way more than he worked but after his coach benched him for messing around too much, he finally realized that school was just as important as the sport itself. Shaw worked hard in high school, studying hours to make good grades and practiced just as hard to better himself as not just an athlete but a student athlete.
“What kind of coach was Stoops?” Another question from a youngster in the back. “Bob is a great coach. He is tough but encouraging and believes in all of his players. I loved playing for Stoops.”
Shaw continued to persuade the students by letting them know that no matter how hard they think a teacher, a parent, a coach might be on them, that in fact they are doing it for the sole purpose of pushing them to succeed. Shaw really hit on the key points that every child needs to hear to keep that fire well-lit and continue to work hard and have that fighting chance to reach their goals.
Mrs. Jackson even threw some hard balls at Shaw asking what his goals were and what he has been doing to reach them. Shaw’s response, “I worked hard in college to receive my degree in criminology. After I graduated I went on to the Academy for the police force and am now a Osage County police officer working hard to one day be a FBI agent.” Derek continues to work hard every day defending our Constitution and setting an example for our society.
Mrs. Jackson thanked Shaw for coming out and after several closing questions, Shaw left on a final note, “School is no joke guys, you may one day play college football like I did but without my college degree I would be no where. You have to push yourselves to succeed.” Well said Mr. Shaw, well said.