Prep beat

JIM PETERS: The line between childhood and adulthood isn't black and white

2014-01-30T17:00:00Z 2014-01-31T02:08:04Z JIM PETERS: The line between childhood and adulthood isn't black and whiteJim Peters Times Columnist nwitimes.com
January 30, 2014 5:00 pm  • 

Most of the time, when we write profiles on prep athletes, we can bring you a quick glimpse of them in their sporting realm, the constraints of time and space precluding us from delving deeper.

It's easy now and then, particularly when they're really big like a Gelen Robinson or Shawn Streck, to forget that they're kids, individuals with superior physical abilities, yet still kids. They're subject to human failings like all of us, even more so, because they lack the benefit of experience that comes with years.

There's no definitive line between childhood and adulthood, no specific age that distinguishes one from the other. Some of us reach it earlier, some later, some, sadly, not at all. It's great to have a little kid in you, no matter how old you are.

Then there are times when kids act like grown-ups, and the consequences are having to become a grown-up when you're still a kid.

Portage High School juniors Jordan Collazo and Julian Stodola are smack dab in the middle of their teenage years, a time when they should have to worry only about sports, grades and what to do on the weekend.

Instead, they're children raising a child. Talking to them a few weeks ago for the centerpiece article in today's section, part of me felt badly for them, knowing they were no longer "normal" teenagers with a life of Xbox, pizza and movies. Then again, that's the chance you take when you choose an adult relationship. There can be consequences, life-long ramifications.

However, I'm not about to break into a lecture. It's not my place. Rather, I want to commend Jordan and Julian for striving to make the best of a difficult situation. They had ways out, if they were so inclined to choose them. Instead of listening to the whispers of advice, they took on the responsibility of their actions, caring for the life they created.

The numbers suggest that these circumstances, more often than not, don't work out for the best. That's unfortunate not only for the young parents, but the child who has no say in the matter. They may face a life of challenges brought upon them by someone else.

But statistics aren't always hard and fast, whether on a court or field or in life. Jordan Colton Collazo is a happy, healthy 14-month-old surrounded by love. Julian and Jordan are making the personal sacrifices to ensure his physical and emotional well-being. I'm sure their families are doing the same. Indeed, it does take a village to raise a child.

I didn't know Julian before I met her recently. I was impressed by her maturity. I had known Jordan, his dad and brother, mainly in basketball circles. It was enough to know that Jordan could do great things with an Evolution in his hands, though he wasn't nearly as enthusiastic about his school books.

Fatherhood seems to have been his epiphany, his reason to change for the better. Good for him. Like with sports, it's a daily process, with a goal of continuing to improve, because somebody else is depending on you. The difference? The games will eventually end. You never graduate from being a dad.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at james.peters@nwi.com.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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