Thursday, June 7, 2012

Looking Past a Stereotype and Into Someone's Life

Posted By on Thu, Jun 7, 2012 at 3:00 PM

In the Chronicle of Higher Education, there was a feature story written by Brad Wolverton that gave insight to the life of a college athlete. Although he falls under the stereotype of a “dumb jock” with a surprisingly low GPA and never having a desire to do well in school, I learned that not every story has that stereotypical plotline.

You know the type I’m talking about: football player who didn’t care to do his homework or read the books because he was busy dedicating his time to becoming an athletic scholar at some university only to repeat the same cycle in high school.

Although on a side note, the NCAA is trying to change the academic expectations for athletes by requiring incoming college freshmen to have a 2.3 grade point average opposed to a 2.0, so athletes are anticipated to start caring more about their studies and become more well-rounded young men.

Back to the story. I seriously recommend taking a look at it and learning about the story behind Dasmine Cathey, a football player at the University of Memphis. His life involves more than just his lack of motivation to do well in school; it’s also about having to be there for his family and his friends regardless of whether that means he misses class or doesn’t do his work.

I don’t want to give it away, but it’s a compelling story that makes you scoff because of his elementary reading level while making you wish his life was a lot easier so he could apply himself better in school and make something of himself. The story is quite long, so you would need more than a few minutes to read it, but I think it’s worth the time spent:

On this day, a cloudy Wednesday in late February, he climbs into a beat-up van parked on the front lawn and drives up the road to fill the tank with just enough gas to make it through the morning. By early afternoon, when his first class of the day meets, the fifth-year senior will have logged more than 50 miles shuttling family members and friends to where they need to be.

Unfortunately for Mr. Cathey, all of that motion has not helped him get where he needs to be. With less than three months until graduation, he hasn't shown up for classes in weeks. Last semester, during his final season of football, he failed three courses. That dropped his GPA below the 2.0 required to complete a degree, putting extra pressure on this semester's grades.

On paper, three classes are all he has left. But for a guy who could barely read three years ago, every class is a mountain.

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