Sunday, January 23, 2011

An Education in Higher Education

Last weekend we went to our first college recruitment visit. A coach has been courting Bryan to come play at their school. It seemed like a tempting proposition. The college is in a picturesque town in western North Carolina a 3 hour ride, through the Blue Ridge mountains. We got up at 5 a.m. Saturday morning, the tour and welcoming committee wanted us there at 9:30. The campus was founded in 1853, and the coaches couldn't have been nicer with their southern hospitality. The well-educated head coach uses the phrase "dad-gum" in just about every opportune statement, it is a real different world in the mountains! The Yankee in me just shudders, Bryan has lived here long enough that it is becoming part of his vocabulary too!

After 8 hours of pep talks and tours, we were done and ready for the long ride home. The college isn't what Bryan pictured for himself, there are only 650 students, I truly didn't know such a small college existed, but they do dot the South, as we are learning. He has gotten some strange offers from as far away as northern Minnesota, but nothing feels like the right fit yet.

Being the parent of a potential student athlete is a complicated journey.

To Be Thankful

I had the most heart warming experience on one of the coldest of winter nights. It was the Football banquet wrapping up the season. Each Senior was filmed reflecting about what they have learned, who influenced them and a true long heartfelt thank you to their moms. All the moms were teary and I was just welling with pride, that my young man could express himself so well, he hit every high and low point so well. "Thanks for all those early morning rides to school in your PJs, thanks for doing my nasty laundry every night, thanks for running my forgotten gear or homework over to school, etc. It was a long time coming and it meant a lot, to be publicly thanked, no kid rushed through it--just awesome.

When thinking back on it I think, it was not just for the benefit of the moms, it was also a great life lesson for these young men to teach them to be thankful as well, if you go through life without gratitude, you can develop a real problem with future relationships. I think the younger players who are there to witness this, also learn a lesson from the "big" guys, seeing them with humility, and acknowledging they didn't do this alone. Each of the coaches got up to the podium and broke down with emotion, an amazing thing to witness. Another chapter closes.