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Clifton, Butler tell kids to say ‘no’

Clifton, Butler tell kids to say ‘no’
Press Sports
MARTIN — The messages were different, but the meaning was the same.
Two well-known athletes spoke to 100 Martin Middle eighth-graders and 150 Martin Elementary fifth-graders at the D.A.R.E (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) graduation on Friday at the Martin Middle School.
Former Green Bay Packers and now retired offensive tackle and UT Martin women’s basketball standout Heather Butler spoke at the graduation with different messages, but with both having the same meaning – do not give in to the temptation to drugs.
Clifton, a Martin native, and Butler, who has called Martin her home for the last three years, took the opportunity to give back to the community and spoke about the temptations and peer pressure athletes go through on daily basis and how to conquer it.
Clifton showed the students his Super Bowl ring and then talked about his dream of playing in the NFL and a chance to play in the Super Bowl. He asked the kids about their dreams and told them the quickest way to smash your dreams is to get involved with drugs and alcohol.
“Let me tell you one thing,” Clifton said. “To get to where you want to go, to accomplish these dreams, one of the fastes ways to derail yourself, to keep yourself from accomplishing that dream is to become involved in drugs and alcohol.”
Clifton told the young group of D.A.R.E. graduates that to become addicted to drugs and alcohol is a “terrible, terrible thing and it will take away all of your dreams and aspirations” and it will make you a pile of rubble.
Clifton then talked about some of the Packers teams he played on and his college days playing for the University of Tennessee Volunteers. He spoke of some of the talent he played with and how much potential some of them would have had if not for drugs and alcohol addiction.
“Unfortunately I have known some guys who had plenty of talent and all of the potential in the world to go on and do great things,” Clifton said. “They squandered that by doing drugs and being addicted to drugs. It totally consumed their life. I do not think anyone in here would want that to happen to themselves, a friend or a loved one.”
Clifton referred to some teammate in college who would have had a career in the NFL, but failed drug test after drug test and never learned. Clifton said the drugs ruined his life. He then went on to congratulate the graduates and told them they know the pitfalls with drugs and to give themselves a round of applause for graduating the D.A.R.E. program.
Clifton’s message – drugs and alcohol will lead you to ruin when you could be on a path to greatness without them.
Butler talked about her experience in the D.A.R.E. program when she was in high school and how much she learned what drugs and alcohol can do, and how they can send you on a path that will lead you to nothing but trouble.
She told the graduates that even though they are young and do not know that much about drugs and alcohol, that they are out there and the peer pressure to try drugs and alcohol will be there as they get older and in high school.
“You are in middle school and eventually you are going to be hitting high school,” Butler said. “It does not get easier. There is going to be peer pressure and it is going to get harder and harder to resist.”
Butler told the students that she is going to be a senior in college and she still goes through peer pressure and the temptations. She told the kids that no matter what, it is not worth it to do drugs or alcohol.
“I have gotten offered so many times, do you want this or do you want that,” Butler said. “I said no because I think to myself; what am I going to get out of it and is it going to benefit me? Is it going to make me enjoy it the next the day and throughout my life? Is it going to help me reach my goals? The answer is NO!”
She told the students that no matter what, it is not worth it at all and she would not be where she is at in her life if she had tried drugs or alcohol and kept using them.
“I remember in high school people telling me they respect me for making that decision to not do drugs,” Butler said. “All it takes is one time guys. It takes just one time to give in to something. Do not be one of those people that; oh it is just one time. It will lead to two times and it will lead to three times.”
Butler’s message was simple – do not even try it the first time. Just say no.
Published in The WCP 5.14.13

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