Blogs > From The Bleacher Seats

A roundup of news on sporting events, people and places in Southeast Michigan by columnist Jim Evans.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Lions' Suh comes to aid of Detroit high school

The Detroit Lions' Ndamukong Suh helped the football players at Frederick Douglass College Preparatory Academy tackle a problem regarding equipment.

So what do used football shoulder pads bring on the open market?
I’ve got more than a few Pawn Stars episodes under my belt. A couple of hours spent watching Hardcore Pawn, too.
With that on my questionable resume, I cannot believe that a pair of football shoulder pads will bring in more than a couple of bucks tops.
So what was someone doing swiping all of the shoulder pads, helmets, cleats and stuff from the school’s field house at Frederick Douglass College Preparatory Academy for Young Men in Detroit?
It could not have been for the cash, but they did it anyway. Some idiots grabbed the used equipment and the theft was discovered Monday morning.
It was not the first time thieves have hit the school, either. Three years ago the field house was stripped of electrical wiring, copper plumbing and toilets.
Frederick Douglass was 4-1 through its first five games. That’s an outstanding record, especially since the team only has about 30 players on its varsity and junior varsity teams combined.
There are about 225 students at the all-boys school in grades six through 12.  Neckties are part of the daily dress code requirement.
The rest of the football season was endangered by the break-in. But thanks to the generosity of Quicken Loans, the Bob Maxey Ford dealership, Ndamukong Suh of the Detroit Lions, Birmingham Brother Rice High School and Plymouth High School, Frederick Douglass is still playing football.
It played its homecoming game against Detroit Denby Friday.
Still, what is wrong with people anyway?
Why would you swipe helmets and shoulder pads, hopes and dreams? Too many young people do not have enough options as it is. Funding for education in this state is anorexic at best. We are barely able to offer the three Rs anymore. Reading, ‘Riting and ‘Rithmetic and exit stage left.
Thankfully there are still a few extracurriculars left. Most schools have band instruments, even if they are so dented they could use a trip to the local auto collision shop. There are usually a couple of scripts laying  around,  too, even if a school is forced to do My Fair Lady for the 11th consecutive year.
Fortunately, a basketball or two do not cost much. Metal baseball and softball bats last a long time, too, and if a school has an asphalt oval and some sneakers, then track season is still a go.
But to swipe football equipment. To snatch away aspirations. Just what is wrong with people anyway?
Maybe a kid or two in the Douglass huddle is good enough to play in college. Maybe one in 1,000 who walk into the field house could someday find himself in the pros just like Suh.
That is really not the point, though. Having dreams is invaluable.  The 150-pound high school nose guard will watch the Lions at Dallas today and envision himself on the field. The kid who lines up behind center on Fridays thinks about playing on Saturdays somewhere.
I truly hope they catch the people who stole the football gear at Frederick Douglass. I’d just like to ask them what was their motivation anyway? It was not exactly the Brinks job. It wasn’t even copper plumbing and electrical work.
How much can you get for some old shoulder pads and refurbished helmets anyway?
Not much, judging by Pawn Stars. Almost nothing at all, figuring what Hardcore Pawn is all about.
I figure I’ll be watching Storage Wars in the near future and they’ll open a unit. It will be filled with dilapidated high school football gear.
Thank goodness for people like Suh. Thank goodness for the folks at Bob Maxey and Quicken Loans; at Brother Rice and Plymouth High School.
The Frederick Douglass players huddled up Friday.  In their new gear.


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