When pressure from adults and the media wears on high school athletes
It’s the plotline of a bad movie.
High school senior, bummed about his lack of offers from Division I schools to play football, fakes it. He makes up interactions with big time coaches; his tough decision with signing day fast approaching and the laundry list of offers from schools all over the country.
Then, with inspiring music playing, he finally gets an offer from the perfect school.
Unfortunately, it’s not a bad movie. It’s not even a good movie. Kevin Hart, a high school senior at Fernley High in Lyon County, Nevada, did it – only he has yet to receive that perfect offer.
According to ESPN.com , Hart announced his decision to play football at California over Oregon to a packed high school gymnasium on Feb. 1. He had been living the sham for six months and had parents, coaches, friends and family believing it right along with him. No one questioned the lack of contact from college coaches.
It’s funny how caught up those of us in the college football scene get on signing day. I doubt I will ever feel the pressure those high school seniors must feel as they are discussed on ESPN.
I can imagine it would be exciting and terrifying all at the same time for so many reasons. But the story about Hart is like a slap in the face.
There are kids that want that ESPN fame, and they don’t ever get the opportunity to decide whether they like the attention.
Hart reminded fans that these are, in fact, 17- and 18-year-old guys in high school. They do not have degrees, they have probably never lived on their own, and I would bet a lot of them can’t even do their own laundry.
Then we tell them that they have to pick a college. For many, they not only have to pick a college, but discuss their thoughts and motives for a majority of their senior year, sometimes even junior year, and then they have to justify the decision to thousands of viewers on local and national television.
I had enough trouble justifying my college decision to my parents.
Speaking of parents, it is the responsibility of parents and coaches and any adults to restrain themselves. Remember that this is school, and while to many athletes football is life, it is not really everything.
They still need friends, school and a way to somehow become a well-adjusted person in society. When athletes say the bizarre things they do on TV, or switch girlfriends like socks, or are arrested, it just reiterates the fact that they never got a chance to find their way in society.
How could they, when starting in high school, middle for some, friends, coaches and most importantly parents treated them like superstars?
When Hart did not receive any offers, I could see him becoming lost and confused and turning to the scam. In a small town where a high school gym would fill up for the college decision of one senior, how could Hart even begin to imagine life without football fame? Why would people be friends with him or respect him or take him seriously?
If suddenly it hit you that you could not do what you wanted in college, and therefore the rest of your life, how would you react?
It is time for adults to step in, relax the pressure and let athletes develop into people off the field as well as on it.
Contact Campus Press Staff Editor Margot Schneider at firstname.lastname@example.org.