Scholarships mean a lot

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 30, 2004

By GEORGE MAHL – Sports Editor

Most people will agree that prep football is the most popular sport in the River Parishes. It shows by the size of the crowds and by the number of student-athletes that signed scholarships in February. However, I saw that the number of talented baseball players in the River Parishes is deep as well.

There have been numerous players that have signed scholarships in the past week.

St. Charles Catholic had ace pitcher Jeremy Catoire ink with Ole Miss, Riverside’s Jordan Remondet deciding to stay close to home and play with UNO, with former RA alumnus Scott Poirrier. We even had one local player, Dominick Thomas of East St. John, sign a scholarship with Gulf Coast Community College, a junior college located in Mississippi.

In my opinion, as well as many others, it should not matter if a person signs with a Division One school or decides to take the JUCO approach. Any way you look at it, a scholarship is a scholarship.

Just because you have a scholarship your freshman year, doesn’t mean you will automatically have one your senior year as well. You have to earn it every time you step foot in a classroom.

I think back to what East St. John baseball coach Macky Waguespack told me earlier this week when I was doing a feature on Thomas.

He said “The worst thing that can happen to Dominick is that he goes to school for two year’s and graduates with an associates degree. Any degree is better than no degree.”

Well said Macky.

I remember my father telling me that back in 1996 when I was contemplating a return to Nicholls State at the age of 23. That was his biggest selling point to me. It turned out that he was right. Yes, a scholarship is a privaledge that not many people are given.

Over the last few weeks, I have heard and read that a high school basketball player named Dwight Howard will turn down numerous scholarship offers from schools and likely be a high draft pick in the upcoming NBA Draft.

I saw Howard play back in December when his team (Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy) played Reserve Christian in a tournament in Delaware. His coaches wisked him off the court after the game so that no college coach nor media could talk to him. It was almost like Howard was a rock star or something. Nonetheless, the fact that he turned down several chances to go to school for FREE is almost a slap in the face to higher levels of education. One side of my brain tells me that one day I would like to see a local basketball player go straight to the NBA, while the other side would like to not see it.

It’s a mixed bag.