Scholarship This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   On December 2, 1964, Bill Bradley made what seemed tomany a maniacal decision for a college basketball player - this MVP turned down achance to play professional ball. People were astounded. Bradley would likelyhave been the first choice of the New York Knickerbockers, earning a minimum of$20,000, which was big money back then, especially for someone just out ofcollege. Instead, this Missouri native chose to attend Oxford University inEngland as a Rhodes scholar. In an age when sports are so esteemed, many todaywould be as baffled as Bradley's contemporaries were.

Why was the questionin many people's minds. With their doctorates in common sense, they could notbelieve that Bradley, who graduated with honors from Princeton University, couldbe mentally unstable. Looking at the big picture, as Bradley did, it is simple toascertain why he preferred Oxford. "Athletes," Bradley explained,"retire at 30, with nothing more than a scrapbook of clippings."Wanting more, Bradley wisely chose scholarship.

Scholarship is a choiceand not a gift. Many believe being smart is a feature, just like having brownhair or blue eyes. In reality, a high IQ means little more than saying you have acheck for $1 million, which if you do not cash it, it is not worth the paper itis printed on. It is a simple choice, day in and day out. Should I take the timeto study for the history test? Those math problems bore me to death; do I reallyhave to do them? English composition or that party? Scholarship is choosing theright path. Memorizing that John Quincy Adams was the Secretary of State duringPresident Monroe's administration; solving and then writing the trigonometricproofs in to the correct form; reworking and editing that English paper onEmerson. Scholarship is not necessarily the amount you know, but whether you usewhat you know to the best of your ability.

Scholarship, then, could beconsidered the quality of realizing the merits of knowledge. It is not doing theminimum in order to pass. It is not even performing to average, or acceptable,standards. As in everything, there are different levels of students. There willalways be those who take Basket Weaving 101 and receive an A; this, however, isnot exhibiting scholarship. There are those who will take the honors and advancedplacement courses, though this alone does not demonstrate scholarship. A personwho possesses the quality of scholarship will not only rise to the higher level,but also excel there. They possess the skills but, more importantly, the desireto conquer the challenge. These are the students who take courses to learn thesubject matter, and incorporate that discipline, whether math, science or Latin,into their being. These are the students who deserve distinction.

Whatbecame of Bill Bradley? After Oxford, he played in the NBA for ten years andhelped the Knicks win two World Championships. Off the court, he continued tosucceed in scholarship. In 1978, prior to his induction into the Basketball Hallof Fame, Bradley entered politics, becoming the youngest member of the UnitedStates Senate. Presently, he is campaigning for the Presidency of the UnitedStates. In the World Book Encyclopedia article on Bradley, it is interesting tonote that there is no mention of championships, or a college basketball MVPaward, only his scholastic endeavors.

One adage demands we give creditwhere credit is due. The great sports stars will get their clippings, the basketweavers their baskets, and those attempting the higher level, their honors and APcredits. Though the fruits of their labor may go unnoticed, those who possessscholarship will enrich their minds, their lives and sometimes, like Bradley,obtain recognition as well. As Frost urged, take the road less traveled.Scholarship which will remain with you forever, and that will make all thedifference.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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