Drug tests a needed deterrent

Published 9:47 pm Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Boys will be boys, as they say, but sometimes that’s not as harmless as it seems.

Not when those boys are representatives of their schools, or when those boys’ health and availability is crucial to a team that has worked for months toward the beginning of football season.

Football coaches, more so than anyone else at the high school level, face pressure to win, and the summer is a time when the hopes for the season just around the corner can come crashing down.

During the school year, coaches see their players basically all day, five days a week. During the summer months, coaches see players for maybe the 18 workouts they are asked to make—and that’s assuming the players actually make all the workouts. So, the people that normally have a finger on the pulse of each member of the team are turned into anxious spectators, hoping and waiting no one makes a poor decision because of the amount of free time suddenly on his hands.

When they are around their players, coaches spend plenty of time stressing the importance of avoiding potential summer pitfalls.

“We’re on them all the time about the right things and the wrong things to do, but some of them ignore it,” Maplesville coach Brent Hubbert said. “All the work they’ve put in during the week doesn’t matter to them once it’s Friday or Saturday night.”

That’s why a county-wide drug testing program would be a good thing. Coaches can talk until they’re blue in the face, but the threat of real consequences is more effective.

The worst-case scenario, of course, is a player that hurts his future or his team’s present by failing a test and losing his spot on the team.

Idle hands are the devil’s tools, and sometimes the results aren’t good when young, popular and physically fit guys don’t have school every day and football practice every afternoon. But for the sake of the teammates that have put in all that work toward a successful season, the goal should be staying out of trouble during the summer. The threat of a random drug test when school starts back can only help.