The Sport/Heroin Equation

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January 23, 2011 by David Gillaspie

For the biggest games you either watch alone, or invite others. 

The ‘alone’ guys think their concentration matters to the outcome of games, and they don’t want it broken.

The ‘invite others’ guy knows it’ll happen no matter what he does and wants to share the moment.

Then there’s me.

For this NFL Championship Sunday, 2011, I invited over as many people as I could think of.  My two boys were already there, along with two friends.  They were enough. 

It was NFL Championship Sunday, and so much more.

During your parent cycle, you’ll find your kid on a team where the coach isn’t giving the message you think sport ought to impart.

Right there you either become a coach, tell your kid to get used to an unfair world, or pretend it’s all good.

This is for the coaches in the audience.  Sports made you step forward, at least that’s the idea.  The world doesn’t need another dad/coach who lets his kid play point guard/quarterback/baseball pitcher when he’s not good enough. 

Maybe that was you, maybe not.

Either way, the dad who steps forward for sport, or his own weird ego, knows the value of sport.  It brings out the best and worst in people.  Most of all you get exposed to the best and worst of the youth and families in the community.

Stick around long enough and you see kids from your teams grow up. 

If you’re lucky, you’ve got kids you can relate to.  If not, you’ve got a problem.

When the problem’s name is heroin, you pay attention.  Tar Heroin?  You ask if you shoot it or smoke it, or what, and that’s good. 


Like every town with active mom’s, word sometimes gets around.  Sometimes it’s the wrong word.  That’s where the journalistic creed of verifying stories comes in. 

I’ve had this confirmed by two sources:

A mule comes into to town to distribute tar heroin.  If you don’t pay, then renege on the promise to pay, you die.

When it’s your kid, it’s a money thing. 

When it’s not your kid, you link up to avoid it.

The heroin in this town goes through the regular channels, usually underground until one deal rises to the top.  I heard of a channel.  I wanted some answers.

How many drug deaths have occurred in the last five years?

Is the new heroin different than the old?

I made it to the gym today and found a dad who had all the answers.  Party boys burned up his backyard recently.  I couldn’t just blurt out a heroin question.  Instead, I asked about his neighbor.

You should never talk to a guy in the middle of a swim workout.  He said, “Yeah, I gotta finish this.”

I took that as a confirmation of all my suspicions.  If that wasn’t enough, he came onto the weight floor and explained the heroin problem.

I came home and on this NFL Championship Sunday I asked the boys about a heroin.  They heard it like I asked them if they took heroin.

They don’t.  I’m happy, but they weren’t happy to know what I did.

I talked to an many dads as I could and told them to call if they hear anything about my kids and heroin.  I said I’d do the same.  Some of them thanked me. 

When does heroin go away?  Cocaine and meth and crack?  Heroin is still frontpage news.

You hear of a kid from your kid’s grade school days, a kid from the teams and fun, and you hear he’s got a bill with a dealer with a reputation for retiring debt one way or the other.

Suddenly it’s more than Huggy Bear on television and someone with an itch.

It’s a man with a gun over there.

Get on the network early.  If you don’t have one, make one.

No one likes getting harped about heroin, but I feel better for doing it.


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