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Falcons' Blalock preaches planning to students

Atlanta Falcons lineman Justin Blalock, with author Brian Gilder sitting on his right, speaks to Meadowcreek students Tuesday at the high school. (Staff Photo: Ben Beitzel)

Atlanta Falcons lineman Justin Blalock, with author Brian Gilder sitting on his right, speaks to Meadowcreek students Tuesday at the high school. (Staff Photo: Ben Beitzel)

NORCROSS — It came on the fourth question.

“What happened last night?” The common area at Meadowcreek half laughed and half gasped when the student asked the Atlanta Falcons offensive lineman Justin Blalock about his team’s Monday night loss to the New York Jets. Blalock smiled at the directness of the question, but didn’t shy away, saying it was a rough time for the Falcons while he turned the struggles into a lesson.

“It’s easy when things are going great,” he said, “but when things are down you find out who you are. Things won’t always be easy. I hope things are going great for y’all.”

The room, filled with Meadowcreek athletes from all sports, was nearly silent while Blalock spoke. He had their attention.

Blalock came to Meadowcreek on Tuesday with author Brian Gilder preaching an early start to financial success. Gilder spoke first, urging the students to turn their same passion for sports and the work they churn out in hopes of improving athletically into planning for the future.

“If you want to be successful and change your future, you need to start now,” Gilder said.

Gilder’s book “The Finacial Playbook: A Fan’s Guide to Financial Success,” is an attempt to turn the confusing arena of finance into simple, sports-related terms. The main thrust from Gilder was on saving money.

Gilder’s presentation gave way to Blalock, who touted not just the ideas in the book, but related them to what he sees in the NFL.

“It’s not always the most fun thing to do, but when I hear about all the guys struggling after they are done playing. If that’s not motivation, I don’t know what is,” Blalock said, turning the lesson to daily finances and a return to a focus on savings. “The strategies in this book are real simple.”

And Blalock wasn’t there selling anything but lessons. Through his foundation, The Justin Blalock Foundation, he donated copies of the book to every person in attendance. After the speeches and questions, he and Gilder stuck around answering questions, taking pictures and signing copies of the book and anything else the students brought with them.

“I am passionate about reaching kids and helping the education process of these young kids, especially at this age,” Blalock said. “So much of what they hear now is going to be the foundation for the rest of their life.”