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Sep   2011

Tue

06

To Play or Not to Play College Sports

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Tags: freshman athlete, college sports, major decisions, recruitment, high school, athletics

by
Senior Assistant Editor, Scholarship Manager, Wintergreen Orchard House

Ok, I’m going to be honest, here. Ready? I never played a sport in college. GASP! Despite that, I was once where you are standing now: making that decision whether to move forward with the recruitment process, not play at all; or forgo recruitment, tryout for a team, and see what happens. With time running out to make a decision on what to do with your athletic career in college, I hope I can help provide a little perspective.

Making my decision

A few things about me back in the day (and yes, really back in the day because this was eight years ago now). I LOVED playing sports. Field hockey and lacrosse were my chosen sports. When you didn’t see me on the field, I was somewhere with a stick-in-hand practicing.

Coaches and mentors told me that I should seriously think about trying to play either of those sports in college, but I quickly realized that although I did love playing both field hockey and lacrosse, that was not enough to devote my entire college experience to them. And that was that.

Finding my place

During my freshman year at Merrimack, I actually lived with a soccer player. She was great, except for one thing: I never saw her! My first experience with college sports was literally the day I moved into my dorm. I walked into my room, and it was empty. There was a note on my desk saying that she (my roommate) would not be back for three or so days because the soccer team had a tournament in New York. From then on, my roommate was always quickly coming in and out from practice to games to study hall then back to practice again. Her life was consumed with soccer and studying.

The difference between her and I was that she was having a great time bouncing around from place to place, but all I could think was, “Thank goodness I did not go that route!”

Deciding not to continue with sports in college was tough, but it was exciting at the same time to have this newfound freedom during the fall and spring months. And really—after finding my place with friends, classes, and other activities at school—I got over it. I think the fact that I moved on so quickly proved to me even more that I had made the best choice.

Trusting my choice

Regardless of which avenue you choose, you’re going to have a blast. For those that are lucky enough to be recruited, you have a family already waiting for you on the field, and you get to do something that you’re truly passionate about. For those who will be trying out, you’ll be able to get a taste of both worlds and see what is best for you. (If you are chosen to be a walk on, that is) And for those like me, who enter school without their field hockey or lacrosse stick, just know that your four years will be just as full as they would’ve been on the field.

You have to be ready to play if you are going to go through recruitment. You have to be on the ball (literally) with all of your forms, with all of your game/practice reels, and with the coach(es) checking you out. You have to really be ready to devote your life over the next four years to your sport.

I did not have it in me to go through that whole process. I was more intrigued by the college life, meeting new people, and really, just doing whatever I wanted without having to be at practice or on a bus for hours to get to a game. I feel that anyone who is excited about the recruitment process, and is ready to give themselves entirely to their sport, is exactly the type of player that a prospective coach/team wants.

None of this talk means that your athletic career is over if you decide not to play on the school’s team. Stay tuned for my next posts when I dive into all of the incredible activities on campus to keep you athletes busy!

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