The scene plays out every day along the Beltway, Interstate 95 or some other major highway of choice: Two cars sit alongside the road, post-collision, with a tow truck preparing to take one away.
And as drivers whir by, rubbernecking their heads to get a glimpse of the scene, two thoughts inevitably creep in, namely, "How did that happen?" and "Man, am I glad that's not me."
These crashes, metaphorically speaking, of course, are happening more and more in high school sports, to the point where they'll happen too fast and too close to witness from a distance.
All around us, there are signs that high school athletics are on the verge of one or more potentially embarrassing or, even worse, crippling scandals that could give good clean youth sports a bad name.
Name the offense and it's happening in high schools all over the country, from suspected steroid usage among student-athletes to grade fixing to improper conduct among coaches and a lot of things in between.
Virtually all of the things that are occurring in gyms and on fields find their root cause in the pursuit of money. No surprise there. People have been doing bad things for a little extra currency since the concept of currency came about in prehistoric days.
But the stakes are dramatically higher now than when Fred Flintstone swished jumpers for Bedrock High. For one thing, good old Fred and his ancestors didn't get valuable scholarships for their pre-college labors, nor did Fred's parents start dreaming of a bigger cave off the professional money Fred could make because he could stick the jumper.
For that matter, Fred's coach didn't get a better job nor did his athletic director make money for the athletic program by letting the Bedrock team play in 20,000-seat arenas.
Yet, if you look around, that's precisely what's going on in high schools today. Football and basketball are being sold to the highest bidders, with shoe companies and agents muscling their way into gyms and stadiums alongside college coaches. And although NBA general managers and scouts now have to wait a year past graduation to touch high school players, they still lurk.
And let's not leave out the media and, more specifically, television from this potentially toxic brew. It's probably not a good idea for publications like USA Today and Sports Illustrated to rank schools in national polls because no one can adequately assess the thousands of teams and millions of kids who play.
It's even worse to see television cameras distorting the process by bringing national fame and attention to kids who might otherwise be primarily concerned with whom they'll be taking to the prom, rather than worrying about how good they look to audiences around the country.
In many respects, high school sports are facing the same kinds of problems that led then-President Theodore Roosevelt to push for reforms in intercollegiate athletics that eventually led to the creation of the NCAA in 1906.
Theoretically, then, a solution could be found by creating a national governing board for high school sports with a commissioner to keep high school sports as clean as possible.
In a perfect world, the Indianapolis-based National Federation of State High School Associations, which serves as a national clearinghouse for state associations, could serve that function, but this is a job best suited for the federal government, ideally out of the Department of Education.
Of course, there are those who will decry governmental intrusion into matters like these, but just as the National Transportation Safety Board is charged to make sure that the roads and skies are as safe as possible, perhaps a sports czar can take charge to ensure that high school athletics don't become more of a car wreck than they already are.