Prosperous today, homeless tomorrow

This article, written by Kathy Haight for the Charlotte Observer, was an interesting read. As I said in yesterday’s blog, sports bring people together. It really does. However, I’ve been thinking, is homelessness an issue of financial troubles or is there more to homelessness?

Homelessness in America has become a real problem. However, sweeping the issue under the rug is never going to solve it. Homelessness is faceless and can happen to anyone.

Bringing together homeless people to play helps them network with others who may be able to find them employment, housing or other essentials.

In another article written by Rich and Elizabeth Lombino, they look into former pro athletes who are now living on the streets. Back in July they wrote about “Sugar Ray” Williams who played in the NBA for 10 years and is now homeless.

In the more recent of the two articles, they tell us about Iran “The Blade” Barkley, a boxer who fought professionally for 17 years. According to the Lombino’s, over his 17 year career, Barkley was paid over $5 million dollars and yet, today, he’s homeless.

What I thought was more interesting about Barkley was the fact that he RETIRED from boxing. It’s not as if he was forced to retire from boxing because of addictions…he retired a successful boxer. Maybe it was bad financial planning on his part or maybe he was conned out of money by deceitful business partners. Who knows? Fact is that after a fruitful career in b0xing he finds himself homeless today.

However, the story of Barkley just goes to show that no one is immune from homelessness. This boxer, throughout his entire career, had an above average yearly salary and yet, that wasn’t enough to keep him from becoming homeless.

I say that to say this – homeless people are humans also. They aren’t invisible. When you see someone who is less fortunate than you, don’t assume that that person did something to bring the ill-luck upon themselves. Reach in your pocket and give them your change. Don’t have any? Give them your coffee or buy them something to eat. Misfortune can strike anyone and I know you’d like to be treated fairly if you ever found yourself in their shoes.

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