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.