Every day it seems like I am reading about some kid who ought to be put in jail, who throws a desk at a teacher, who embarrasses his family and could care less, or who steals the family car at age 10. Oh, what to do? In Virginia a fifth-grader was caught bringing a bag of marijuana to his elementary school the other day – which calls for immediate expulsion – this despite the tearful admission – get this -- the boy found it in his dad’s truck and never wants his father to smoke the stuff again.
So he brought the weed to school, as a safe place to throw it away where his dad couldn’t get it. Can you believe kids act like that? Or that under a “zero tolerance” blanket the child will be expelled in the coming days?
Today let me expose some other kids you might not know about.
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It was the last game of the basketball season in El Paso and Coronado High was playing Franklin. For the past three years a “developmentally challenged” kid named Mitchell Marcus has become Coronado’s much-beloved team manager but coach Peter Morales told him before the big rivalry that, since it was Senior Night, he wanted Mitchell to wear a uniform, just like the other guys. Do you know what that must have meant after three years of washing those uniforms instead of wearing one?
Coronado was up by 10 with 1:30 left to play when Coach Morales called Marcus’ number, telling him to “get in the game!” The second Mitchell stepped onto the court the crowd started chanting “MITCH-ell! MITCH-ell!” and his teammates started feeding him the ball underneath the basket.
The Franklin High kids sensed what was taking place, leaving Mitchell open despite the fact they were being beaten, and while everybody knows Mitchell is a pretty good shot, several tries went awry. With 13 seconds left, Mitchell booted a last pass away and Coach Morales, realizing it was too late for another try, was left praying that at least his faithful manager would always remember getting in the game on Senior Night.
Then do you realize what this kid from Franklin did? Remember, his team is losing by 10 with scant seconds to play. When rival player Jonathon Montanez took the inbounds pass, he … got Mitchell’s attention, smiled, and tossed Coronado’s newest player the ball. This time Marcus shoots true and it is nothing but net. The crowd exploded, rushing the floor, hoisting Mitchell Marcus on their shoulders and earning him a spot on ESPN’s SportsCenter, the CBS Nightly News and other national outlets.
So what about Franklin’s Jonathon Montanez – why did he do it? "Since we were down and there was only 13 seconds left, might as well give Mitchell his last shot," Montanez told the reporters. “In my family we are taught to treat others like you would want to be treated.”
Imagine a high school senior in times like these saying something like that!
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We all know how many prima donnas and self-centered moneymakers have infiltrated pro sports. Are you kidding me? Last weekend Elvis Andrus, who plays wonderfully for the Texas Rangers, was scratched from a spring training roster due to “upper arm sensitivity.” Translated, that means he’d gotten a flamboyant tattoo and his arm “was stinging like fire.”
Are you kidding me? Lifted from the line-up because of a new tattoo!
But, wait … before you give up on Major League baseball before the regular season starts, look at Rookie of the Year Mike Trout, who last year – at age 20 -- hit .326 with 30 home runs, 129 runs and 49 stolen bases for the Angels. He was runner-up in MVP voting, too.
So when Mike reported for spring practice, he got a meager $20,000 more than MLB minimum wage.. This year he will be paid $510,000 and his agent went berserk at the paltry amount. When A-Rod was the Rookie of the Year the Yankees tripled his salary and over the past ten years the Rookie of the Year averaged a 21 percent raise. Mike Trout, on the other hand, took it in stride.
“You could easily put yourself in a bad mood about it, but that’s not me,” Trout told reporters. “I like to play baseball. I’m going to try to win a World Series for the team and not worry about off-the-field things.”
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So tell me, between our fifth-grader in Virginia, our basketball manager and his rival in Texas, and slugger Mike Trout, you think our country has lost its feel? No, is the answer, not by a long shot. Our next generation is going to be a dandy!