August 19, 2009

Somebody - Anybody - Let These Kids Carry On

About one month ago ESPN aired a fantastic feature story about two inseparable wrestlers who each persevered through adverse physical setbacks. It portrayed an eerily similar true version of Freak the Mighty, and happened to be the last time I almost cried.

Actually, no. District 9 takes credit for that. Peter Jackson is better than Pixar at humanizing creatures that you otherwise would not hesitate to blast in the head with a 12-gauge.

If you haven't seen this yet, I refuse to summarize the story. I would be doing it an incredible injustice. Here's the video:

Now that you've gone through half a box of Kleenex, let's address the real issue at hand. They've both received letters of acceptance to continue their educations, but it's unclear whether they'll be able to afford it.

Sorry, give me a second to clean the twenty-dollar bills that seem to have clogged my ears.

They've both received letters of acceptance to continue their educations, but it's unclear whether they'll be able to afford it.

I feel guilty just reading that. Even if I should feel lucky because I've been given the opportunity to attend a fantastic university, I don't. This story doesn't have to end in bittersweet, as Freak did. These two earned a collegiate education, so why the hell aren't they getting one?

The problem here lies in the college admissions process – it’s all about numbers, and foolishly overlooks character. Dartanyon and Leroy may not be the brightest bulbs in the room, but damn if they don't work the hardest to outshine the rest of 'em.

If you’re in college, then chances are that you know at least one person who’s there because his parents wouldn’t bat an eyelash at a $200,000 tuition bill. He’d much rather stay home and play Madden, but going to college guarantees the most direct route to Mommy and Daddy’s trust fund. "Hey, I’ll just skate by on a 1.9 GPA, drink, fuck and sleep for the next four years. I’ll be completely capable of making sure $2 million doesn’t disappear faster than a pile of coke on Bobby Brown’s coffee table."

And is Bernie Madoff running the Free Application for Federal Student Aid from his jail cell? Leroy’s house looks like an oversized, dilapidated Link-N-Logs set, and Dartanyon…well Dartanyon doesn’t have a house. Or parents. How can anyone with half a brain justify withholding a full-ride for these two? Oh, right. FAFSA's actuaries struggle to justify giving full-rides to malnourished Ethiopians. Nevermind.

It's not completely FAFSA's fault, either - every school has a department that runs its financial aid office. Do you know who works in these departments? My assumption, based on the tactics they use to cut financial aid packages like a lipo doctor on Rosie O'Donnel, is that they're all former health insurance workers. They'll do anything to save their organization money, even if that means emaciating financial aid packages to the point where the student can't pay to attend. Makes sense, don't it?

If there's a school out there that's seen this story - I know for a fact that Pete Carroll has (he Facebooked about using the video as inspiration to the football team), and I'm somewhat disappointed that he hasn't lobbied harder to convince USC to accomodate them - give these kids a shot. At first glance, it's great PR. In reality, it's way more than that. It's poetic justice. It's the only ending that this story deserves.

No comments:

Post a Comment