Former star proof that life#8217;s choices make all difference

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 14, 2006

Even in my meager, almost 31 years, I have learned one hard constant: Life is all about choices and years of good ones can be erased by one misstep.

Just ask former Ohio State Buckeye Maurice Clarett.

But Clarett has compounded one bad decision — to lie to the police during an investigation — with a string of others.

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Once thought to be a rising star with fortune and fame awaiting him, Clarett may have become the national poster child for poor decisions.

Already facing charges alleging he held up two people outside a bar in Columbus, Clarett was arrested last week with four loaded guns but only after he resisted arrest and ran from police.

Professional athletes are certainly not the only ones who face these constant choices in life.

In fact, celebrities and athletes probably don’t face many more temptations than you or I.

Every human being has to make hundreds of decisions in their life that determines what their individual destiny will be.

Everyone knows someone who people believed had it all: great family, great friends, religious upbringing, good looks and great smarts and endless opportunities.

Those things are no guarantee that life will have that storybook ending.

Poor choices can take all those things away.

I have seen it too many times right here in the Tri-State as friends and neighbors make decisions that lead to instant gratification and ultimate destruction.

Every single day of our lives we will be faced with decisions that can completely alter our lives and the lives of those we love.

Just because we have always made the right decision in the past does not mean that we can let our guard down.

Every choice we make has lasting ramifications and consequences. Some times those consequences can be overcome. Some times they cannot.

Maurice Clarett can certainly attest to that. Regardless of what happens with his most recent legal woes, Maurice Clarett will not likely ever overcome the poor decisions he has made.

For young and for old, your decisions will shape who you are and who you can be.

Some people look toward religion to help them with their decisions. Others lean on friends and family they can trust. Still others simply look inside at their own moral compass to provide the guidance they need.

I wouldn’t begin to tell someone which one they should use to make the choices they face in their lives. For me, it seems to be some combination of all three that helped me get to where I am.

But I — and everyone else in this world — still have a long journey ahead.

The margin of error is small. The difference between the penthouse and the jailhouse is not as wide as many would believe.

Just ask the Maurice Claretts of the world.

Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Ironton Tribune. To reach him, call (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail at