An Open Letter to Duron Carter

By Luke Zimmermann on April 29, 2010 at 7:00 am
$5000 6 foot longProof hard work leads to hard carbohydrates.

Dear Duron,    

    For roughly the last 6 months, you've had a rather rough go at it with some of who used to be your most vocal proponents. There's little doubting the frustrations began to mount when you unexpectedly missed the biggest cornerstone victory Ohio State's had in half a decade. This was disappointing in a number of ways, and a lot of internet tough guys felt a need to point your way and spew the typical Moronese at you as such . There's no shortage of missed-their-windows-of-opportunity jocks, the athletically underwhelming who never even had the chance to miss in the first place, and the *insert misc. other Ohio state school* dropout types who unceremoniously missed out on the full college experience and feel the need to take their frustrations out on anyone they perceive as more entitled than they were. Haters to the left… and what not. However, this isn't about making excuses for either side of the aisle; mistakes are what they are. The task at hand is ultimately what scoreboards whether or not anything at all was learned from those.

   There's no misunderstanding that having a full ride to an institution the stature of Ohio State is a privilege, not a right. But that's not to say that making the leap from high school to college is the sleepwalk many make it to be. You're speaking to a guy who bailed on 2 straight weeks of class (and a midterm) his first ever Spring Quarter to up and drive 9 hours with a couple of buddies to road trip to St. Louis to see Jurassic 5 and the Dave Matthews Band (the latter was the real crime). What few weeks I was around the 614, I spent playing NCAA Football 2005 on the original XBOX, discovering the human tolerance and survivability limits on Natural Light consumption, and doing God only knows how much other boneheaded idiocy. I can't even begin to fathom what taking a full load (much less a partial one) and having the 50+ hour demands an athlete in your situation deals with on a weekly basis. I wound up with something like a 2.17 on the 20 credit hours with but 12 hours of extra curricular "responsibility", lost some scholarships, and just about the whole 9 yards that go along with bringing the full this. So believe me when I say, I've been there. Mistakes made. Lessons learned.

   Now here's where the ledger trends unfair. Because of who your father is, expectations for the kind of immediate impact you were supposed to have coming in teetered on fairly unreasonable and full blown insane. Shoot, even the most levelheaded amongst us were maybe excessive in our expectations. My father was no NFL Hall of Famer, but he does have 2 prestigious degrees to his name and the kind of job that set the gold standard for how I perceived my life was supposed to play out. That didn't quite happen, but that's not say I didn't land on my feet. Unquestionably the hardest part about growing up is course correcting for your expectations of how things were supposed to play out with what actually does. If you can take one thing away from the throw-their-own-feces chimps that sneak into some of the message boards and comment sections you lump in with the urls at the top of them, let it be that. Sure, it wound up taking a lot longer than expected landing a framed piece of paper of my own. And in full disclosure I now work in an industry that has absolutely nothing to do with what I studied. But at the end of the day, I can't begin to pretend I didn't end up in a situation where I do something I legitimately enjoy. Maybe that'll be your case, maybe not. If football fits into that equation at the same stage in your life, I strongly suspect plenty of folks will be eating crow over the non-sense they yelled, texted, and tweeted your way and look back regrettably at what little leeway they gave you. And hey, at least look at this way. You're having some growing pains early. Sucks, no doubt, but it's part of life. I also think plenty would be well served to keep in mind that while you didn't live up to their lofty standards, there's still plenty of this left up your sleeves:

   I can't promise the slack jawed yokels will ever fully shut up. What I can promise is that they have short attention spans and even shorter memories. Make a few plays from the same bag of tricks you showcased last fall, and there'll be entire sections on the Bucknuts/O-Zone's of the web and comment sections like the one below dedicated to your hustle. And there are certainly more than a few around those same parts already in your corner.

Still reppin' Team Duron,