What role should mom or dad play when a young athlete is choosing a school?
National signing day for NCAA was this week. ESPN makes a big deal out of it. One of the top football recruits in the country, Landon Collins, selected Alabama over his home state school of LSU. His mom is a huge LSU fan and was not happy. Watch the video.
Crazy Youth Sports Parents Alert: It is not about you, mom.
My son, Nic, is only in 8th grade, but he had to proclaim his intentions for a high school this past week too.
Nic had four obvious options. The free public high school in our town with is quite good. Moeller High School where his brother went to school. St. Xavier (the rival school to Moeller) and Cincinnati Christian Hills Academy (CHCA). Although there are pros and cons to each, all four options are strong educational institutions. Some are stronger than others but each will provide a great foundation for college. Nic couldn't make a mistake.
Nic quickly narrowed down to two schools based on baseball, Moeller and CHCA. I was ok that he used baseball as a criteria for selection because both programs were strong academically.
Moeller is a perennial baseball powerhouse. Ken Griffey Jr and Barry Larkin both went to Moeller. Moeller plays in the highest state baseball division. Moeller is a great program to prepare a young baseball player for college level. The program is highly competitive, so getting playing time is not a given.
CHCA is also well know for baseball. They have an amazing coaching staff. They are perennial favorites to win the division II championship every year. CHCA is a much smaller school than Moeller (50 boys per class compared to 200), so the competition for playing time is less.
My son set his sights on Moeller, not because of the academics or the baseball program, but because that is where many of his closest friends are going. He was also impressed with the House System. (Think Hogwarts)
I was pushing my son to go to CHCA because it is an amazing academic school and because he could play baseball, golf and basketball for the school all four years. He loves to compete.
Nic's elementary school is a feeder school for Moeller, so getting accepted into the program is pretty much guaranteed. Gaining acceptance to CHCA is much more competitive. Both schools require an entrance exam.
Nic was dead set on Moeller. He didn't want to shadow at CHCA or take their entrance exam.
What should a parent do?
The Main Point
It is not about me. My son is 14. He's old enough to make his own decisions. I believe that my role as a parent is to guide Nic, not make decisions for him. Well kind of.
He decided he was not going to explore the CHCA option. I explained to him that options in life are good and that he had nothing to lose. I also sensed that he wanted to explore CHCA, but was a afraid he would not get in. So I made him shadow and take the entrance exam. I told him that he would go through the process and then he could decide.
I remember when my older son decided to quit playing soccer in HS. He gathered up the courage to tell me. Much to his surprise, I said that was ok. That it was his life and his decision. I also told him that he was going to tryout for the team and if he made the team he could tell the coach that he didn't want to play. I knew he wanted to play, but was a afraid that he would not make it. He made the team and played.
Nic got into both schools. Together we discussed the pros and cons to each. He then made an informed decision to go to Moeller.
Guide your kids. Teach them how to make decisions. It is a life lesson that needs to be learned.