Summer for Blast's Ronson means soccer, drug education

May 26, 1991|By Bill Free

Moments after the worst season in the 11-year history of the Baltimore Blast had ended early last month, midfielder Billy Ronson said he wanted to go to bed and not wake up until August.

But two days later, Ronson was planning a summer of what hdoes best off the soccer floor -- warning youngsters about the dangers of drugs and teaching them how to play soccer.

Soccer and the dangers of drugs will be the themes of Ronson'soccer camp at Patterson High School June 24-28.

Ronson, a member of the Baltimore-area Athletes Against Drugprogram, has spent the past three years telling youngsters at various schools why they shouldn't use drugs.

"The main thing I tell the kids is to keep away from drugs if thewant to play sports," said Ronson, who has been asked probing questions from his young audiences.

"This one boy asked me if I've ever done drugs or if anyone othe Blast did drugs," said Ronson, who led the team in scoring most of last season before finishing third when coach Kenny Cooper asked him to concentrate more on playing defense in an attempt to help the team.

"My answer was no and that if anybody on the Blast was caught using drugs, the team would help get them into rehabilitation but they would probably never play for the Blast again."

Ronson said he is even more subdued, shocked and saddenewhen an 11- or 12-year-old tells him, "My mom does drugs."

"At first I don't really know what to say, and I feel so terrible, but soon recover and say that it's wrong no matter who does it," said Ronson. "I also tell them if they have friends doing drugs, they can help those friends if they tell someone who can get help for them."

Ronson said one inner-city school principal once asked him"What experience do you have with drugs?"

"I said, 'None, really,' and he said I was going to learn somthings talking to these kids," said Ronson.

What will Ronson teach the youngsters, who range in age from to 16?

"I'll try to tell them to be the best they can be and that theshould maintain enthusiasm and a good attitude at all times," he said. "And I'll teach them basic techniques on passing, ball control and shooting."

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