For the last two years I’ve had the honor of watching some incredible athletes come through Prosper High School and now face one of the most important decisions they’ve had to make to this point in their lives.
Where they will spend the next four years of their lives.
The idea of moving out of state is not one that’s easy for anyone to think about especially an 18-year old kid who’s about to be fresh out of high school and has known nothing but living in one place for his entire life. Trust me when I tell you, I’m a walking example of that.
I lived in California for 26 years of my life and moving to Texas was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made. Seven years later I can tell you it was the best decisions I’ve ever made.
But more on that another time.
That one thing that I began to realize with this football season, especially watching the team from a very different seat, was I wanted to help a little bit more. I didn’t just want to be a fan or just someone who was close to some of the players and their parents. I wanted to help them get where they wanted to go.
I wanted to help them go to college.
One thing I want you to realize is I don’t want to help them play football for another four years and I don’t want to help them become football stars. I want to help them go to college. That’s something that is close to my heart and has been for quite some time. I just wish it were a little easier for families to afford (but again, more on that another day).
The 2015 season flew by and I was just getting my feet wet with getting to know coaches and for them to get to know me. It was slow going but I’m grateful for those who I have built relationships with because not only are they great coaches but they are great people, great fathers and great husbands.
Some of the time you want to see these men as coaches and guys who are high ranking in the positions they hold. But when the football season is over or when they get in their cars to leave the office after a long day, they are simply men, husbands, fathers, brothers, uncles and friends.
They are people. Just like me. Just like you.
There are lessons to be learned in dealing with recruiting and some handle it different than others. While there are some who handle the relationships like they would any other business relationship, I knew early on that I didn’t want to handle it that way. I wanted to get to know these coaches for who they were outside of the office and away from the football field.
How many times they were on television, how many championships they’ve won, or how many times they’ve been interviewed, didn’t, and doesn’t, really matter to me. All that mattered is the conversations we are able to have during a calendar year not only about the high school football players I’m trying to help go to college but also about movies, TV shows, or whatever might happen on any given day.
Relationships should be simple but there’s little doubt they need to be earned, kept, and trusted.
So with the 2016 calendar year now upon us, and certain schools already starting on the 2017 recruiting class, I wanted to do all I could to make sure I gained even more relationship, and trust, among coaches than I had just a few months before. I didn’t start the journey in January, I got into a little later than I probably should have, but getting to start from day one this time around might help where I want these players to go.
I still need to gain trust but friends don’t show up just because you might send them a message. Friends come around because you continue to make an effort and continue to care about things that have more to do with who they are as a person than what they do for their job.
That’s one of the greatest things I take away from watching Prosper over the last two seasons. It isn’t about what these players will do over the next four years and it’s certainly not about whether or not they’ll play football professionally. It’s been about getting to know them as people, as students, and as well as athletes.
I’m grateful for those I’ve gotten to know and I’m grateful that Prosper head coach Chris Ross has trusted me enough to allow me inside the inner circle to help some of his players in their recruiting journey. He knows so much about the game of football that all you want to do it sit and listen when he talks and soak it all in (I promise, Coach, I’m not trying to be weird. HAHA)
So, as I look forward to the players already on my recruiting list for the 2017 recruiting class, I’m thankful that these young men have trusted me to help them and I hope, and I pray, that God grant me the ability to give them the opportunity to go to college at the place that makes them the most comfortable because there aren’t more important years than these.
I pray that I gain the trust of coaches around college football, at every level, so they will take a look at the players I’m trying to help. It’s not about me, I don’t want, nor do I care, about credit. I care about the players going to college and getting to play football along the way.
Because, at the end of the day, that’s the most important thing. Football may not be in the cards for them after college, but a degree in hand after these four years will still help them do some great things in this world.
What do I say to the challenge that lies in front of me?
Bring it on.