An Open Letter to the College Athletic Recruiting Process

An Open Letter to the College Athletic Recruiting Process

The bittersweet challenges of trying to get recruited to play a sport in college

The Art Mad
24

To the college athletic recruiting process,

Let me start by saying, you suck.You're like a horrible boyfriend who keeps breaking your heart. You're indecisive, suspenseful and suck-the-life-out-of-you stressful. You tell us that all we have to do is email the college coaches of our choice about a billion times and then, they might notice you. Then go to countless skills clinics and recruiting camps that all happen to be anywhere from $300-$500. After that, you have to do extremely well at these clinics and hope and pray that want to come watch you play in a live game.

What you don't tell us athletes is that playing in a live game while a coach is tentatively watching every single move you make on and off the field might be the most nerve-wracking thing in the world. Then, they take notes. This makes you automatically fear, "Oh my God, I just made an error, what is she writing down?" Or, "Oh my God, I stopped cheering to sneeze. Does she think I don't care about the success of my team?" All of these things are racing through your already scatter-brained mind while you're also trying to play an actual game!

After they come out to watch you, you hope you weren't a complete waste of their time. Then you send the detailed follow-up email thanking them profusely for coming out and watching you pop-up twice and boot every ground ball hit to you. After that, you wait. It seems as if your process comes down to A LOT of waiting. Waiting for a coach to email you back, waiting to see if a coach likes you, if a coach hates you and ultimately waiting to see if your dream will come true!

Yes, your dream is to play the sport you love at the college level, in case you forgot. Or, waiting to see if your five long-shots, ten probably's, and five back-ups work out. You know what I'm talking about. It is overwhelming and frustrating and sometimes seems absolutely, utterly impossible. I once heard someone say, "I'd rather study for ten days straight then have to go through the recruiting process again." What did we ever do to you, recruiting process? All we want is to play the sport we are so deeply passionate about at a school that will also take us far academically in the future. So, recruiting process, why are you so bittersweet? It's like you make us work extremely hard just because we're athletes.

You know that an athlete with a dream of playing in college has to be a special breed. A persistant, resiliant, passionate breed, who will send their weekends sending out emails and training while the rest of their friends are out partying. Do you make it so hard because you know it will be even more "worth it" in the end? I guess you're a blessing in disguise. I guess you know that your process will inevitably make us make us appreciate and cherish how much of an honor it is to play at a college level. You're hard. You're mean. It's as if your constantly against us. You make us feel unwanted, but you also help us reach our ultimate goal.

So, thank you. Thank you for turning me down so many times because I never knew how much being denied could strenghten and empower me. Ultimately, hitting rock bottom by being pushed there with denial and "you're not good enough's," have made reaching our dreams the most beautiful and fufilling feeling in the world. Whether it's signing the NLI or verbally committing to the school of your dreams, you have made every second of it totally worth it So, thank you again.

You knocked me down but always picked me back up. You proved to me that hard work always pays off and you've shown me that no dream is too big. Lastly, you've taught me that everything in life happens for a reason. If you stay the course and trust the process, you can't go wrong. You can achieve anything you set your mind to. As Babe Ruth once said, "Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game."

Sincerely,

An athlete who has learned a lot from you

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