Many teen athletes aspire to play sports in college believing it will be exactly that - play. They arrive at Liberal Arts U. And reality sets in. Before long they've discovered that college sports -particularly at Division I - are a job, a highly competitive, physically draining, poorly paid job.
I've written about some of these students in my book about youth sports and how they've, in some ways, been hi-jacked by adults. It's called "Until It Hurts," and will be published by Beacon Press in April 2009. (Self-promotion, yes). Sunday's New York Times has a good piece by Jere Longman raising similar issues. Jere tells the story of a hotly recruited high school basketball star who landed an athletic scholarship to the University of Connecticut, an elite women's hoops program. In a short time, she realized she was in the wrong place, spending all her time doing something that was not making her happy.
This post, and Jere's story, I'm sure, are not intended as knocks on college sports. The point is that these stories end happily only when the motivation comes from within, not from a coach, a parent, et cetera.