This article has been sitting in the nether regions of my brain for the last month, because the off-season is the worst. The only good thing that comes in the summer is verbal commitments that can't be legitimized until February.
The rest is a hellscape of "the [team, unit or player] is going to be better this year" stories, #teens stiff-arming your favorite school, and arrests.
For reasons that largely are stories for another time and place, I get sick whenever I see a non-Michigan football player pinched for things that basically aren't murder, rape, pedophilia or selling heroin to toddlers.
I hate seeing young people throw away opportunities.
In 27 years on Earth, I've had a handful of dust-ups of differing severity with various penal codes across America. They were all avoidable. Thankfully, I didn't play football for a major university and my idiotic decisions didn't makeup headlines.
It's not fool-proof, but there are a few #lifehacks — besides, you know, following the law — to avoid getting pinched for something as mind-numbingly stupid as brawling at the Grown & Sexy Lounge in Lorain.
ALCOHOL: THE GATEWAY TO TROUBLE
I'll leave the judgement on cannabis up to the reader, but look at some of Ohio State football's recent arrests:
- Jack Mewhort and Jake Stoneburner pinched for public urination.
- Marcus Baugh's two underage drinking citations.
- Carlos Hyde's Sugar Bar 2 incident.
- Roby's knuckleduster with a bouncer in Indiana, and the OVI citation he plead down.
- Tracy Sprinkle cited for rioting and cocaine possession, among other things.
Notice a common thread there? Alcohol.
Don't get me wrong, alcohol can be awesome, but its darker side can't be ignored. It's like DirecTV's "Don't end up in a ditch," commercial, except the consequences don't end with the commercial.
Drink enough alcohol, and you will do things you would never do in 10,000 sober years. Sometimes, this results in a story that will enter personal lore. Other times, it puts you in a jail cell for a whole weekend with nothing but an anti-suicide vest as your only clothes, blanket and pillow. (Hope you like ham sandwiches.)
Here's a guest speaker, Jacksonville's Lil Duval:
When u young u say "Im hitting every party in the city tonite" when u get older u say "if I leave this club I'm going home"
— lil duval (@lilduval) July 6, 2014
The folly of young people is thinking partying in large groups of people is good. Only later in life do you learn it is actually bad.
HEADED TO THE BAR? DON'T DRIVE.
If you're at this stage of the night, you've obviously treated my first two suggestions like Craig James treated those five brave hookers at SMU.
This point, however, can't be ignored. It doesn't matter if you're sober and are planning to only drive to the bar and take a cab home.
Don't even give your crunk-self the option of driving home from the bar. Don't give your keys to your friends either. They'll be drinking too, and you can get a DUI for allowing a person you know is inebriated drive your car. Take a cab, Uber, Lyft or WALK. Whatever you choose, it's always cheaper than a DUI.
(Plus, if you've been paying attention, you've come to realize YOU HAVE NO FRIENDS.)
STAY OUT OF DENS OF INIQUITY
My 11 readers know I'm from Marion, and I have nothing but love in my heart for the City of Kings. As I grow older, however, I put my shoes on the streets of Marion less and less.
Remember Woody Hayes' quote?
"only three things can happen when you pass and two of them are bad."– Wayne Woodrow Hayes
I view Marion the same way Woody Hayes viewed passing. Of all the things that can happen when I make the hajj to the City of Kings, an overwhelming majority of them are bad. Really bad.
They say nothing good happens after midnight, but at the OK Café, my Marion watering hole of choice, nothing good happens after the lunch hour. I wish that was a hyperbole.
The problem with the OK Café is it's frequented by people who are ready to die over anything. Putting alcohol (and other substances) into people like that is like setting yourself on fire and tap dancing on top of a wooden keg of gunpowder. One way or another, it's ending badly.
What's the point in dying because you scuffed some heroin dealer dealer's Spacefoamdepositcrystal Jordans? That dude is in his early 30s, lives with his mom and deals with junkies on a day-to-day basis. Do you know what kind of aggravation that man keeps within him? If you don't know, trust me, you don't want to find out.
THE EVER SHRINKING CIRCLE OF TRUST
This only applies to the young bucks.
These days, I pretty much talk to my cowokers, my girlfriend, the eight members of my fantasy football league and a guy I've known since kindergarten. That's why I'll never attend a high school reunion: I already keep in touch with everybody I care about.
Maybe it has a little to do with my evolution into a middle-aged hermit who lives in a cave, but maintaining real life human relations is an unnecessary burden. Outside of your family, a person only needs about eight other people.
And choose wisely, because just because somebody is your friend doesn't mean they have your best interests in heart. In some cases, your friends are your friends because they share common, self-destructive tendencies.
PRIDE COMES BEFORE THE FALL
It's not an original thought, but that's because it's true.
Tracy Sprinkle had a chance to walk away, but his pride (and perhaps the cocaine he allegedly had in his possession) didn't let him.
Both [Wayne] Blue and Sprinkle were told to leave, but instead continued the confrontation. Blue was the first to be arrested after refusing to leave and continuing to confront Sprinkle.
The officer once again told Sprinkle to leave.
“The group that had been trying to hold Sprinkle back responded by saying, ‘We got him’ as they pushed him toward a car,” the report said.
Tracy was in the clear. He had already (and allegedly) hit his rival in the head with a liquor bottle. That rival was already en route to jail. The cops had given him the Go-Home-or-Go-To-Jail card (link NSFW). Usually, that's an easy decision.
However, Sprinkle did not leave the area as instructed. He later was seen arguing again with someone, and at that time he was arrested, the officer wrote.
Fighting, and the egotistic pride that leads to it, are two of the most worthless things in human discourse. When they're mixed with alcohol (and/or drugs), the results are always downright calamitous.
DON'T MESS WITH THE POLICE
Here's the lesson I've discerned: Don't mess with people who possess the power to knock the piss out of you and then put you in a cage.
You don't have to speak to them, but I would not advise disrespecting them.
Otherwise, you end up with a mugshot like this:
It's not easy to see which guy respected the police during his apprehension, but if you look closely, the answer is there.
These #tips, along with simply following the law, will go along way in reducing your arrest rate.
After all, it only takes one bad decision to torch everything for which you've spent your whole life working towards.
It might not be fair, but it is life.