Column: A solid education provides stories for the future

The prep season is just around the corner, and the sports fans in Kingman will once again have the opportunity to watch some of Kingman's amazing young athletes in action. It's imperative that every adult - parents, teachers, coaches, counselors, etc. - who plays a role in the future of our children, stress to these student-athletes that education remain their highest priority.

There are very few things worse than seeing a former star athlete fall short of their promise in life and have to rely on the stories of their past.

The good news for athletes is that the sports industry is now an enterprise where trillions of dollars are spent. Under this umbrella, there are many ways for a sports-minded person to make a living. A short list of careers includes trainers, parks and recreation, coaches and even sports writers.

Many, if not all, of the positions in sports-related fields require an education. This is the pivotal decision that needs to be made. Get the education and many doors will open. Some doors may even open during the pursuit of the education.

I wasn't a star athlete in high school, not even close. It dawned on me early in high school that my aspirations for playing at a higher level wasn't in the cards for me. Twenty years after graduating high school, I was able to play a year of junior college tennis. I knew that year would be my crowning achievement on the playing fields. I had spent many years accepting my role as a weekend warrior, but I always craved the opportunity to compete in sports. I finally made it, but it was a long time coming due to my life choices.

As the school year begins, three people come to mind who were instrumental in helping me find my way. Though some of their lessons occurred many years ago, the instructions they provided were always there, waiting for me to tune into them.

First, of course, there was my mother. Mom taught me at an early age just how important the written word was in our world. Some of my earliest memories are of our many trips to the library. I was always reading a book and still am. Mom also gave me my love for sports. When I was just a tyke, the phone would ring, and I remember Mom saying, "If it's Joey, tell him I'm not home." Joey was Joe Namath. He never called.

One of Kingman's greatest brought me even closer to writing. She was able to take the love for writing imparted to me by my mother and make it come alive for me. When I had completed my semester with Mrs. Carole Randall, I knew I wanted to be a writer. It would still be a long time before I made the connection between writing and sports.

I spent a lot of years in the accounting field. I went to a Golden State Warriors game with a boss of mine, Phil Balmer. Little did I know that it would be a life-changing event.

Phil asked me if I could do it all over again, what would I rather be doing with my life. I told him that I'd be a sports writer. He told me I should go ahead and do it.

Much to his chagrin, I enrolled back in college the following January and took my first journalism class. The rest is history.

The time has come for our athletes to not only return to fields and courts, but to enhance their minds through education. For the mentors out there, find out what their dreams are and lead them down that path. After all, that's the best part to the return of the prep season.