Young Athletes, THINK Before You INK
Increasingly more athletes are getting tattooed these days – sometimes as early as high school (or even Jr. High). While it wasn’t that long ago that tattoos were a rarity to see in sports (just watch NBA clips from the ’80’s), nowadays you are seemingly in the minority if you don’t have any ink. It’s funny, but if you want to be noticed these days you will likely get more attention for not having tattoos than if you do choose to get one, ironically.
Of course, it is to each individual what he or she wants to do with their body, and tattoos are not “right” or “wrong” per se. Tattoos are, however, very permanent and it is from this perspective that I would like to offer a few thoughts to young athletes thinking they might want to start working on their “sleeve” this weekend:
- Take a look back at pictures of yourself from just a few years ago. Do you laugh at the hideous shirt you wore, and do you cringe at the awful haircut you used to have? Fortunately, those are days of the past and short of a “friend” playing a joke and posting those pics on Facebook at your expense, you can probably lock them up in a drawer and prevent the world from seeing the old you. The point here is that what people like one day can end up being something they don’t like later on in life — with tattoos, you don’t get a “do-over,” and it’s quite likely that what you think is cool today might be something you hate later (like that haircut in 9th grade).
- Remember, you are not LeBron James, Dennis Rodman, David Beckham, or even Lil’ Wayne. People at the top of their craft have a lot more latitude when it comes to what they can get away with — for the rest of us, making permanent decisions like getting a tattoo on your neck can lead to some very negative consequences down the road – like at a job interview.
- Regardless of what anyone says, people get tattoos for attention (meaning you didn’t get that dragon tattoo down your arm for people not to look). There’s nothing wrong with seeking the attention of others, as we do it all the time – the question is can you still get the attention you seek without tatting up your body for life? Perhaps a new haircut, different clothes, or even a more affable smile and personality might get you all the attention you could ever ask for!
Again, tattoos are not bad, and there’s nothing wrong with those people who choose to decorate their body with them. The problem, however, is that many people make decisions about tattoos without much forethought, and only later do they come to realize the full cost of their short-sighted decision. Don’t believe me? Ask people over the age of 40 how many of them still feel a connection to their tattoo. You might be surprised to learn how their feelings have changed, yet the permanent markings on their body still remain. Short of spending thousands of dollars for laser tattoo removal, many of these folks are stuck with a branding that they feel no longer represents who they are — similar to that really ugly outfit they wore back in high school.
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