by John Davis
Guam - Senators in the 30th Guam Legislature currently debating the issue of whether or not to raise Guam's drinking age to 21. What they are essentially doing is forcing Guam's young adult community to put a hold on drinking, but also allowing them to vote for leaders like the Governor of Guam, members of the Guam Legislature, the Attorney General, village Mayors and other elected offices. In essence, these same leaders are saying Guam's young community can also join the military at the age of 18 so they can fight and die for their country, but they cannot pick up a drink to celebrate their return home from war or theatre, which ever you may want to call it.
Statistics show that most individuals caught driving under the influence are between the ages of 30-35. However; senator B.J. Cruz does not care about that considering his significant other, in senator Cruz's opinion is an alcoholic. Senator Cruz also referenced a few recent accidents that have resulted in death or critical injury. I say one bad apple doesn't spoil the whole bush full. I'll take you readers on a walk down John Davis' Memory Lane.
Since the age of 14, I became involved in sporting activities because I was given an ultimatum between being suspended or joining cross-country after a fight I was involved in while I was a student at Agueda I. Johnston Middle School. The fight began because a bigger, stronger person did not want to give my volleyball back, so I decked him. The school-aides caught me decking one of my bigger, stronger classmates and sent me to the office for discipline. Waiting for me in the Principals Office were the Principal and the School's Athletic Director. The Principle said she was going to call my mother to come in and pick me up because I was getting suspended and she was also going to put me on work detail for a month, that's when the Athletic Director Stepped in.
"John, I've seen you playing football in the GYFL, I've seen you race many of your classmates in the back field and you're fast."
I responded saying "So?" The Athletic Director then responded saying "What do you think your mom will do when she finds out you're getting suspended and you're going to be put on work detail for am month?" I said, "she'll probably beat me and be upset that I got into a fight." The Athletic Director then asked me "Would you be willing to come out to Cross Country Practice for a week? If you like it you can stay on the team, if you don't, you can quit and we won't put you on work detail." I said, "shoot! I can do that, I run from Academy Gardens in Mangilao to the Micronesian Mall before. I've also run from my old house in Sinajana to Tamuning for Teen Night at Lights, so I know I can run."
After we made the agreement behind closed doors, the only thing left was to make sure my mom didn't find out I was joining sports to avoid suspension. When I showed up for my first day of practice, my the Athletic Director, who was now my coach told me to dress out and meet him by his truck (where the Ordot Police Koban is now located) so that's what I did. After all my new teammates arrived (actually I was the new teammate) Coach told us we were going to follow his truck and run from AIJMS to Charlie Corn (some place I ran to once that is past the entrance to the Ordot Dump.) I replied saying "o.k, what happens when I reach the truck?" Coach said, "well, you're going to turn around and run back to school, do you think you'll be first John?" "I'll try coach" I replied. Knowing I was good at running from point A to point B, I ran as fast as I could because I wanted to be first. The only thing going through my mind at the time was to finish this week so mom doesn't kick my butt. I ran, ran as fast as I could and I reached the truck first.
"Wow, John, that was fast!" Coach said. "Now turn around and run back, lets see if anyone will catch up to you."
"So just turn around and run back where I came from right?" I said because I wanted to be sure I was following directions properly. The last thing I need was to take a wrong turn and come in last. "Yuppers!"Coach said.
So I ran and I ran, as fast as I could, but when I got back on campus grounds, there was no one in sight. That's because I beat everyone, I beat them bad. As my new teammates finished the run back they were shocked saying, "Wow, you're fast, who taught you how to run so fast?" "My Brother and My Uncle Tom" (who was a fitness trainer at Clark Hatch) I said.
As the week went on, I realized running was better than fighting and boy was I fast! At the end of the "Hell Week" My coach asked me if I was going to stay on the team or if I was going to quit. I replied, "If my mom buys me running shoes, I would like to stay on the team coach, this is fun!" During that same conversation, he told me that if I joined all sports during the school year and if I excelled, I could win the "Most Valuable Athlete Award" I liked the sound of "Most Valuable Athlete" for some reason it sounded better than "Most Valuable Player."
That was the beginning of the rest of my life. I was the 3rd fastest in Middle School Cross-Country during the season although I finished 5th in the All-Island Race because I over trained for the meet by running even longer distances the night before. I still have the feeling that I could have done no worse than third if I would have just listened to my coach and rested the night before the meet. Oh, according to my coach, that meant I made the All-Island Cross Country Team.
Next was basketball season. I never Played organized basketball before then, the only basketball game I ever played before that was 1-on-1 with my brother and at that time he was bigger, faster and stronger than me and always won. Today, however; I'm the bigger, faster, stronger athlete and although he might score in a 1-on-1 rematch, he will not beat me today, ha! Our basketball team did fairly well, I think we finished in 3rd place. I was selected as "Most Improved" player on the All-Island Middle School Basketball Team.
After Basketball season was volleyball season. Although I made the team, I was not a starter because I was still learning the game. I eventually made my way into the starting lineup when we challenged the Untalan Middle School Wildcats. That Team sported names like "Full bearded" Keith Leon Guerrero and I think his brother Brian was on the team as well. Keith was a scary dude back then and we did not win the game, but I trained harder and was eventually selected as the "Best Hitter" on the Middle School All-Island Team. I believe we also finished in third place that year.
The fourth and final sport of the School year was Soccer and boy did I think I sucked. I couldn't dribble very well, but I could definitely use my bigger body to play defense and that's probably why my coach made me a Fullback. He said, "John, all you have to do is protect that ball from going into our goal and you also have to protect our goalie." That was a small order to fill "Just make sure the balls come to me slow and bouncy coach, I'll take care of it." Coach responded saying, "This isn't kickball John Davis (back then people called me by my first and last name as if it were one name) it's soccer." I said back to him. "The least I can do is try right coach?"
Our AIJMS Soccer Team kicked butt that year, only losing two games and we gave the first place team, Bishop Baumgartner Middle School Obispo's their only loss of the season, which was the last game of the season. I was named to honorable mention for Middle School Soccer that year.
I won the "Most Valuable Athlete Award during our AIJMS Sports Banquet my 8th grade year. After winning that award, the sky was the limit. As I went through high school, I was the first freshman in a long time to Play Varsity Volleyball, during track-and-field season, I ran a mile 5:15, but I wasn't a runner, I was more of a sprinter so Coach let me do the long jump, triple jump, 400M and 4x400M in my freshman year.
During my time as a student of the "Purple and Gold" George Washington High School, teams I've played on have never done less than second, I was a part of 2 championship teams (Volleyball and Track-and-field) and I became a member of the Shank! Guam Junior National Volleyball Team as well as a member of the Guam Men's National Volleyball Team that represented Guam in the 1997 Mini-South Pacific Games in American Samoa. I have even been asked to give motivational speeches to school kids during their Sports Banquets.
I was doing all this activity and never thought of picking up an alcoholic beverage, unlike Senator Cruz's statement that many people begin drinking under age, I didn't and none of my friends did either. In fact, I did not start drinking until the age of 20. Of course I would go out to bars, but I just wouldn't drink because it wasn't cool to me. I've never been pulled over for a DUI or irresponsible driving and the last time I even got a speeding tick was when I was 22, that was 8 years ago, at that time I was already drinking in moderation.
Educated people make educated decisions. We need to do more education campaigns, public awareness campaigns and alike. The way we combat drunken driving, auto-pedestrian accidents, domestic violence and under age drinking is we must ensure there is strict punishment for first time offenders and repeat offenders. If the punishment is far stricter than the crime, then people will not commit this type of crime. Offenders can be a part of the Prison Industry Program, make them clean schools, paint bus stops and cut grass at Veteran's Cemetery. I guarantee, if we bring the chain gang back and force hard labor for 1st time and Repeat Offenders, then no one will commit the crime of driving under the influence and everyone will drink responsibly.
For these reasons I urge members of the 30th Guam Legislature to vote "NO" on Bill 389. Vote yes on putting the issue up for a referendum and let the PEOPLE decide if GUAM is ready to raise the current drinking age from 18 to 21. A few bad apples do not spoil the entire bush full.
The views and opinons expressed in KUAM Columns do not necessarily reflect those of Pacific Telestations, Inc. or its advertisers
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