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African American news - Commentary on sportsHey, it's August and there isn't much going on right now, so I am asking all of you to work with me on this. I wanted to write a column that everyone would like; something sensational that would be discussed around the water cooler.

Then it came to me, I would write something about baseball. It's August, and the pennant races should be heating up, so baseball is the ticket. Then I checked on the standings of the Angels and Dodgers, and I discovered that neither of them will make the playoffs. Bummer!

I have to write about something. So, in desperation I checked the police blotter. While it did not help me with this column, I am pleased to report that I did not find that any athletes had been arrested or murdered.

My salvation could be golf. That's right, Tiger Woods played last week, so there was the possibility that he might return to form, and win the tournament. However, that was not to be, and he had his worst performance since he became a professional golfer. Double Bummer!

I did watch the NFL Hall of Fame Inductions on Sunday. All seven of the Inductees gave great speeches, and I thought that the ones that were given by Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith were particularly outstanding. Rice attributed his success to his fear of failure. He says that since he was always afraid, he could run faster and perform better than his opponents. He also said that this fear made him work harder than anyone that he competed against. He explained that his work ethic came from the job that he had with his father, who was a brick layer. It was Rice's job stand on a scaffold and to catch the bricks that were thrown up to him. As he relates the story, he never dropped a brick and he did not fall off of the scaffold.

When it came to Emmitt Smith, it was noted that he had gained more yards as a running back than any other player in the history of the game. He was accompanied at the ceremony by his father and mother, and by his wife and their four children. His correct name is Emmitt Smith III, and his son's name is Emmitt Smith IV.

He talked about his commitment to excellence in his athletic career. Then, as he was nearing the end of his speech, he mentioned that he had returned to college to get his degree. "Because I promised my mother that I would", he said. So he apparently went back to college, not for personal development, or the joy of learning, but because he felt obligated to do so. His son, who appeared to be about 10 years of age, was in the audience. The message that was sent to him is that athletics are tremendously important, and education is just something that you have to do. This lack of interest in becoming well-educated has unfortunately become a part of our culture. What we must do is everything that can to motivate, people, young and old, to get the best possible education. Even then, it may be difficult to survive.

On a happier note they held a retirement ceremony for Leslie on Tuesday night, August 10, 2010. For about 20 years this gracious young lady has entertained us with her basketball talent, and made us very proud of the dignified way that she always conducted herself. I predict great things you Ms. Leslie, and that you will have a great career in business, sports, or politics. You have the qualities of leadership that make people want to follow you. I met you when you were graduating from high school. Even then, you had poise and maturity beyond your years. You seemed to understand that there was a bright future, and that you would become a star. That has all come to pass.

If you'll grant me a personal note, I would like to mention that I have three granddaughters who are attending colleges. The youngest two attending Howard University in the nation's capital, and the other is attending Clark University, Atlanta, Georgia.

All three are doing exceptionally well academically, and that makes me proud. The youngest granddaughter is 16 years old, and she has already finished her Freshman Year at Howard University. She intends to become a Pediatrician, and I am certain that she will succeed.

Thank you for your indulgence, there will be some football games this week, and it may be the Angels or the Dodgers will get back into the race.

[You may contact John Randolph Rogers at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ]


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