Our Opinion: Thomas a positive example

April 24, 2002

Can organized sports make a difference in a young people's lives?

Without question, sports can benefit a young person as he or she grows and matures.

Look at Robert Thomas, a graduate of Imperial High School who loved football and stuck with the game. He played Pop Warner, then high school ball and was so good he went on to play for UCLA. On Saturday he was picked by the St. Louis Rams in the first round of the National Football League draft. Fame and fortune await a fine young man.

There have been other Valley residents who have found a future in sports in recent years — Glenn Cadrez, a professional football player, and Rudy Seanez, a major league pitcher, and many before them. All of these locals, through achieving their dreams, have become a models for youths in the Valley.

The message they send: that hard work and determination can pay off. That doesn't mean every youth who works hard is going to become a professional athlete. In fact, most won't, and every young person has to realize that. Then again some may. Kids have lots of dreams that hard work and commitment can help them achieve, even in a remote area like ours.


Sports can be a part of that effort. Organized sports can help youths become leaders rather than followers and teach what it means to work as a team and to support others. Sports also give young people a positive activity in which to become involved rather than sitting home watching TV, or worse, getting involved in activities they should not.

In the Imperial Valley a lot of good people have shown a willingness to give their time as coaches and organize sporting activities. They are making differences in young people's lives. They motivate and teach. When it is necessary, they discipline (of course, that means making kids run laps or do pushups.)

We urge parents to get their kids involved in some kind of youth activity, sports or anything else that adds to their education and development as members of the community. The benefit will be immediate. Along with developing as individuals they will make new friendships, lasting friendships.

Young people need all the help they can get. Fun, positive activities provide that help.

If your kids dream of a career in professional sports, remind them nothing is impossible, but it will take hard work both on the field and in the classroom.

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