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High school athletes turning pro

             Imagine playing in front of three thousand screaming fans just waiting for you to do something spectacular. Imagine being swarmed by the media after stepping out of your thirty two thousand dollar car, leaving practice to go to a photo shoot for the cover of Sports Illustrated. This must be the life of a veteran athlete finally getting his "big break" right? Wrong! This is the life of eighteen-year-old LeBron James, a high school basketball phenom from Ohio. As the projected first pick in the NBA draft, James is probably going to turn pro out of high school. True, on the outside this 6"7" 225 pound guard has the physical capabilities to play with men, but what about his mental state? It has been proven that high school kids can handle a "man's" game, but are they ready for a man's life. If we continue to let our high school athletes turn professional not seeing the big picture, we are setting them up for failure. Not failure in their craft, but failure to learn the foundation of life and depriving them of their teen years.
             As a child, every athlete dreams of that day when they can step out of their "field of dreams" and lead the game winning drive with two minutes left or hit a game winning homerun in the bottom of the ninth with two outs in the World Series or even shoot the game winning shot at the buzzer in overtime. They watch their favorite athletes on television and hope that with enough hard work and even some luck, they could be just like their heroes. Some kids look at the athletes today and see the way they live their lives. Aside from being a childhood dream, some high school athletes look at the lavish lifestyles and the fame the professionals receive and see an easy way to get that same attention. In some cases, young athletes seethe high paying professional ranks as an avenue for escape from an impoverished lifestyle; a lifestyle of substandard housing, high crime rates and drugs.

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