Metro Track Meet’s Power Punch Softened Due to Absence of Top Performers Morgan Woitzel Returns to Track in Time for District
Lampkin Chooses Wisely
Tattooed up and striding around Nebraska tracks and football fields with the type of swagger and aurora befitting a confident and accomplished young athlete, Omaha Central’s Teddy Lampkin exudes the kind of street coolness that many urban kids admire and strive to emulate. But there is more to Teddy than the ink on his skin or his suave demeanor—something more valuable and certainly longer lasting than all of his athletic achievements:Teddy Lampkin is an outstanding student in the classroom.
The 2010 Gatorade Nebraska Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year and Iowa State football recruit was among a few dozen or so Nebraska high school student athletes honored this week at the Omaha Metro Track Meet for their academic achievements. His Rivals.com profile lists a 3.40 GPA.
Unfortunately, unlike Lampkin, far too many of our athletically gifted boys and girls choose not to excel in the classroom, or—even worse—to achieve the minimum academic standards necessary to receive student-athletic scholarships. This reality runs rampant within the African American community.
We can trace the roots of this issue all the way back to the African slave trade that began well before the birth of America and its eventual legal adoption and practice on this continent, which subsequently fueled racism, the Civil War, Jim Crow laws, segregation and the Civil Rights Movement. All of which brings us here to where we are today: a society that’s a work in progress, still reaching for that elusive thing called equality, but still carrying the burden of its past sins.
Tremendous strides have been made towards achieving “the dream”, but a certain state of mind still has a powerful hold on many black youths. Its mottoes are “being smart in school is not cool” and “why ya tryin’ to be white?” We can lay the blame for this kind of mind set on the historic information presented earlier and/or: disinterested parents, poor school systems, drugs and alcohol, glorification of thug life and violence, teenage pregnancies, single parent homes and on and on… But at the end of the day it’s all about the choices each individual makes.
I’m speaking to all of the athletically gifted young brothas and sistas out there: “Make the right choices!”
If you chose to participate in sports remember that it’s not a right—it’s a privilege. In high school you have to maintain a minimum GPA to participate. In order to be awarded a student-athletic scholarship so that you can keep playing that sport in college, you must have a minimum GPA that includes basic core subjects and you must score high enough on your college entrance exams.
Why miss out on the opportunity to receive a free college education tomorrow because you are too busy trying to be “cool”, today? Why endure all those strenuous practices and individual workouts and various injuries to become the best athlete you can be but not make the effort in the classroom that’s necessary to qualify for a scholarship?
If you think you are missing out on the fun because you have to study and/or pay attention in class think again! Because the experiences that you will enjoy as a college student-athlete are far more pleasurable and meaningful than any fun that you think you may be having in high school.
It’s your choice. Choose wisely.
Related Omaha World-Herald Story: Husker football recruit out for track season
Daniel Davie, a 2010 state meet 100m and 200m all-class gold medalist, may be an academic casualty.
No Sugar: Well Done
May 7, 2011 @ 2:49 pm
It’s great to read a story like this as too many of our black kids fail to take the steps necessary to achieve in the classroom. I really enjoyed the way you wove in the “cool” thing into your article. I mean what’s cooler than being a fine athlete and good student especially if it gets you a full ride.
I am now a huge Ted Lampmkin fan and hope he continues to do well on the playing fields and the classroom. Just too bad it will be at Iowa State. Ugh!
May 8, 2011 @ 2:35 pm
This provided good insight on how we got to this point and how “at the end of the day” it still all comes down to making the right choices. I agree with NO SUGAR: WELL DONE. There is nothing cooler than overcoming peer pressure to not get good grades while also being a great athlete. Way to go Teddy!
May 8, 2011 @ 9:28 pm
Yep. Y’all got it!
Thanks Deep Stuff and No Sugar.
May 10, 2011 @ 12:28 pm
Think TL will win 100 All-Class at state?
May 10, 2011 @ 2:30 pm
TTY: There are about half a dozen sprinters capable of winning the all-class 100. “TL” ran a wind-aided electronically-timed 10.69 at Metro. Add the tech .12 or so wind correction to that and it’s 10.81. He took second in Class A last year at 10.80 in the state finals and he is sprinting a lot better this year. I say if he is healthy and pumped he will run at least a non-wind-aided 10. 73. So it will take at least that time to win state this year. Add a little wind and we could easily see a sub-10.70 all-class winner.
We know TL’s time this year on the state meet track at Burke—can’t say that about the others except for Kenzo Cotton. How legit are those 10.5s and 10.6s hand-helds that are out there?
May 10, 2011 @ 2:04 pm
Thank you! Great story! As a black man I get tired of hearing all the negative stories about our students. Thanks for writtig the story and thanks to Ted Lampkin, and his parents, for being cool.