Spring Break = Social Media Cocktail

How you behave today will be on facebook or twitter tomorrow… or more realistically, within a few minutes!

Even if you’re not a sports fan you may have recently seen coverage in the media about college football quarterback, Dak Prescott of Mississippi State after he and others were attacked in Panama City Beach while on spring break. More than likely, you saw it on social media because it was trending for days. The images and videos may be difficult to watch, but the unfortunate reality is that things like this happen in the Spring Break Capital of the World (Panama City Beach, FL) when you consider that nearly 1,000,000 rowdy college students frequent the area in the month of March – many with the sole purpose of reckless abandonment of all good sense.

Does that mean that all the students that descend upon PCB are bad? No. In fact, some of them just want to hang out, party some and enjoy the warm temperatures on a beautiful beach. After living here for nearly eight years I also realize that a lot of them are here to push every limit known to mankind. Unfortunately, in the last couple of years it’s also attracted a significant criminal element that come here specifically to prey on students and that’s definitely changed the equation – especially for area law enforcement in their efforts to maintain crowd control.

This scene is only part of the photo because it wasn’t taken far enough away to get the entire crowd in the shot – taken 3/11/2015. This is one of the several venues sprinkled along the numerous miles of PCB shoreline in March.

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IT’S IMPORTANT TO NOTE that the other 11 months out of the year Panama City Beach in Bay County is a family oriented destination and also a popular spot for snowbirds in the winter – sugar white sand beaches, crystal clear emerald water and affordable lodging accompanied with southern hospitality. PCB is dubbed the World’s Most Beautiful Beaches.

Back to Dak: in the 2014 football season he gained national notoriety in the sports world. Obviously, he’s high-profile enough to be all over social media after a group of 8-10 guys (some with criminal records) jumped Prescott and two others causing serious injuries. That same group targeted other students just the night before. On top of that the ring leader posted on twitter bragging about it all. Really? That wasn’t the smartest move on his part.

So if you’re a known college athlete do you have to miss out on an epic college experience like a PCB Spring Break? Ideally, no, but in the scheme of things it’s a hard choice that has to be made for future reasons. Bad publicity (even if it’s not your fault) follows you from that day forward. As Tajh Boyd, former Clemson star QB says in an interview by Stephen Godfrey of SBNATION, there are ‘unique social demands on college players, especially quarterbacks.’ Sometimes they have to make the hard choice which may mean missing out on a college milestone like PCB Spring Break. I agree with Boyd’s viewpoint and Godfrey’s article is well worth the read.

I believe Dak Prescott learned a tough lesson, but something else bothers me. Where in the world were his friends and why were some of the onlookers more concerned about getting it on video to put on twitter instead of helping an outnumbered man out? That’s troubling in itself.

*Thoughts and prayers needed for The Coach (my mom) who has been extremely ill, requiring hospitalization. She’s the toughest woman I know so you know it has to be bad if she’s agreed to be admitted into the hospital. Thanks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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