Written by Tripp Roakes, Publisher, South Charlotte Sports Report


The list of South Charlotte area teenagers that have had their lives changed, ruined or even lost

due to poor decisions is quite long.   Thousands of kids that at one time had the world right in their

hands and ready for the taking now struggling to make sense of the position they are now in and how

they got there.  I publish the column below annually around this time of the year.  The Spring Break-Summer

period seems to always change lives, hopefully this year will be a little different.




Over the last ten years I have penned a few columns about how small

decisions can affect the entire life of a teenager. This message always seems

to ring a little more clear around Spring Break and Prom Season. I believe

the numbers would support my thought, as it seems like we see a lot more

teenage tragedies this time of the year. Maybe it’s the warm weather, maybe

it’s the excitement of knowing summer is near and in the case of high school

seniors, knowing that the freedom of college is just around the corner.

Regardless of the reason, the newspapers and internet are filled with stories of

teenage tragedies right now.


It seems like every day we can find a story somewhere in our country

of a teenager losing their life due to a poor decision. Locally, we have seen

multiple car accidents take the lives of high school students over the last year

as well. These children’s parents have gone from planning graduations and

summer vacations to planning funerals. They will never get to experience

the thrill of graduation night or the excitement of moving a child into their

freshman dorm.


We also tend to hear about more and more teenage deaths caused by alcohol use

this time of the year. Every spring break is filled with stories of students falling to

their deaths from upper level hotel balconies or stepping

in front of traveling vehicles while under the influence of alcohol.

The common theme we often find in these tragedies usually lead back

to one poor decision. Unfortunately teenagers have not developed the skills

needed to make all the right decisions. They don’t have the life skills their

parents have learned over the years. Simply put, teenagers are not as smart

as they think they are. All teenagers need the guidance of loving parents, but

even then, many are going to go around that advice and some are going to

learn very hard lessons or even lose their life trying to make decisions for

themselves without listening to the important advice given by most parents.

The point of this column is simply to ask all teenagers to take an extra

breath this spring before making a bad decision. Think back on what you

should do in each situation and then take another moment to think about

what could happen if things don’t go as planned. Think about the repercussions

of trying to drive 65 on a 45 mph road. Think about what could happen if you

look down to send a text message and another car suddenly stops in

front of you. Think about what could happen if you drink underage and then

decide to drive a car or what could happen if you get in a car with someone

that has been drinking.


Trust me when I tell you, nothing good can come from any of these poor



Such a huge majority of the students in South Charlotte are headed to

college, many on athletic and academic scholarships. I ask all my teenage

readers, Do you really want to risk losing what you have worked so hard for?

Do you really want to take a chance at getting hurt, killed or hurting or killing someone else? Is it really that

cool, if things go sideways and you end up in trouble or even worse,

dead? Can you live with yourself if you survive and your best friend

doesn’t? These are all real life scenarios that play themselves out in

different cities across our country on a daily basis.


This is my personal plea to all my student readers. Take an extra

minute to listen to your parents advice. Believe it or not, they actually

know what they are talking about and want to have you around for

a long time. They want to see you graduate from college, start a family

and bring the Grandchildren over for the holidays.

It can happen to you. Be safe, think twice and Good luck the rest

of the school year and summer.


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