Fred was the quarterback of the future. Being 6’4” tall and weighing 240 pounds made him the prototypical pro style quarterback. All of his great promise ended after just two weeks on campus. Fred was arrested for public intoxication, driving while impaired and having possession of a controlled substance. The breathalyzer showed a blood-alcohol level of .21. When he met with his academic advisor, Fred was asked why his teammates didn’t stop him from getting into trouble. His response was: “They were in worse shape than I was. They just didn’t get caught.”
Fred was released from the team. No major university would give him a scholarship, so he transferred to a community college. Everything went downhill from there. He never again appeared on a football field. He never got a degree. And alcohol became his best friend.
As an athlete, you will be tempted by your teammates. Some of your teammates may never have had to face the consequences of destructive behavior. How do you deal with the pressures of teammates to involve yourself in activities you find to be outside of your personal values?
- Earn the respect of your teammates by your hard work, your performance, and your encouragement of them in practice and in competitions, and as they work through personal issues. When you earn their respect, they will also respect your values.
- Like any college student, you need to let the personal values of your family guide you. Just because they aren’t with you, that doesn’t mean that the values they shared with you no longer apply.
- Start developing responsible friendships in your major (See Making Friends Outside of the Team). When you find others to socialize with, this will make it easier to avoid peer pressure.
- Most campuses have athletic groups such as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes that help connect students of different sports who share common values. These can be good groups to join.
Developing good friends who share your values is critical for any student-athlete or non-athlete. What you don’t want to do is to lower yourself to the standards of those who don’t share your values.