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The journey continues

PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2011 5:54 pm
by DlaxDad
Well . . . the boy's in college. The house is quiet. Smells better, too.

Did the process work? Magic Eight Ball sez: Too soon to tell. But DlaxDad sez it's trending positively. What have we learned?

The East Coast is really far away. East Coast cool is really different from West Coast cool. All that stuff about choosing a good school -- that was right on the money.

I was at Franklin and Marshall two weekends ago for parents' weekend and the alumni lacrosse game. I combined it with some work in New York City and drove out to Lancaster, PA. The weather's been pretty grim this fall, in part because of the hurricane, but it's just been generally unpleasant. The freshmen lacrosse players have to sell programs, be ball boys, work the yard sticks, and generally make themselves useful on Saturdays during the football games, and Conan doesn't like that much. Also, he has practice Mondays and Wednesdays at 4:30 p.m., and has a M-W-F class that ends at 4:20, so he's been late for practices -- no trouble making the 6:45 a.m. Saturday practice, though. He's a little nervous, because they've cut a couple of players, and they have four excellent senior poles. For the first time since the boy was in 6th grade, he will not be starting -- he probably won't see much of the field this year.

I had a chance to watch the alumni game, and remain incredibly impressed at the speed and athleticism of the game as it's played in the Centennial Conference. It's interesting -- I saw the Homecoming football game, which wasn't terribly well played. With 183 Division 1 football programs, as compared to only 60 Division 1 lacrosse programs, the distance between Division 1 and 3 in football is far greater than the distance between Division 1 and the top Division 3 programs in lacrosse. I met some of the other parents -- the freshman goalie is from Ridgway, NJ -- he was the goalie on the Tri State Grays, who beat BraveHeart in their very first game at the Tri State Tournament at Princeton in 2007, 2-1. I went back to the write up of the game -- both dads who posted said the goalie play was spectacular. Incredibly, the parents remembered BraveHeart's matching uniforms, team calisthenics, and the BraveHeart banners the boys ran onto the fields with and posted on the sidelines.

The best news is that Conan's working really hard in school, and is finding the classes stimulating and challenging. We spent Saturday dinner discussing the role of pity in the Illiad, in light of Achilles's return of Hector's body to Priam, after Achilles despoiled the body in battle. Not what I expected to be talking about (and I needed a pretty extensive prompt from the boy on the plot line, even though I'd seen Troy on late night TV). He isn't taking any science, notwithstanding all of our visits to schools with good geology programs, which is what happens when you listen to a 17-year-old and think he knows what he's talking about -- he's taking the survey course, a course in Eastern religions, and a course on music and culture, in which to explore the effect of political systems on creativity, they started by comparing the music of the Weimar Republic with that of the Third Reich. That's some pretty eye-opening stuff.

Which is why you send them to a liberal arts college. So that they will learn to think. I hope he makes the team. I hope he stays interested in lacrosse. (I think he's going to be listed in the press release on the freshman recruits, so he's made it that far, at least.) But first, last, and always, I want him to get a good education.

This thread just passed 5,000 views. I hope it's been of some use to people who might have needed someplace to start. To quote the American philosopher and sage, Mr. Natural, "Keep on Truckin'."

Re: College recruiting - Finding the Right School

PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 6:48 pm
by joshua
Dlax Dad -
Searching for knowledge...has college lacrosse gone to far in pursuing 2016's? While attending the Adrenaline Shootout last weekend I overheard a D1 coach explaining to a parent that he expects serious student/athletes to have scheduled or taken the ACT during their sophomore year. That seems a bit ambitious. Most sophomores have yet to take an AP or Honors class let alone play varsity lacrosse. I am trying to figure out how to best guide a 15 year who is getting politely "guided" to make a college choice when he cant drive yet. Are the D1 coaches asking too much and does the NCAA have an opinion or official position on how young is too young?

Re: College recruiting - Finding the Right School

PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 8:49 pm
by DlaxDad
I don't have answers, just questions. I took my son on his college tour Winter and Spring of his junior year. His opinion about what he wanted changed about every other day. His mother and I made decisions based on what our son was saying, and it turned out that an enormous amount of what he said was completely unreliable -- partly because sometimes he said what he thought we wanted to hear, sometimes because he said what he thought he thought, sometimes because he had no idea what he thought and talked anyway. (He takes after my side of the family on this last quality.) He's 19 and is only starting to think straight now. (Same as his fraternal twin brother, by the way. Someone told my wife that you have to view the brains of teen agers, especially boys, like teeth. Their baby brains have fallen out, and their adult brains haven't grown in yet.)

There may be kids who know what they want to do in college by the time they're sophomores, and their youthful decision works for them. Some kids think they know what they're doing when they're juniors or seniors, but they don't really. I can't claim to be one of the ones who can tell the difference.

The one thing we always insisted on is that our children get a good education. I think you can never lose sight of that. I think we owe that to our children way more than we owe them an opportunity to play a sport.

What I read when we were going through recruiting was that D1 coaches decry out of one side of their mouths the pressure to recruit younger and younger players, while recruiting sophomores out of the other side of their mouth. They say they all have to do it because the other guys are doing it.

If you are having trouble telling where your son falls in the talent pool, you might hook up with one of the advisors or services who will take a look at your son and can give you another point of view, from someone who isn't recruiting him, to tell you whether your kid's a D1 or a D3 talent, a star or a role player or an end of the bench guy if he plays D1 or a starter at D3. Anybody who's honest in that line of work will also want to see your son's transcript, to get an idea of what's realistic academically speaking.

The player's parents are probably the people best situated to help their son make educational choices intelligently, and that includes when to take the ACT or the SAT, and when to get serious about college. If sophomore year seems too early for your guy to take the ACT then it probably is. Lacrosse is a great sport, and the recruiting process is incredibly exciting. But college is for getting an education. And with 61 Division 1 programs (more every year), 46 Division 2 programs, 189 Division 3 programs, and 211 MCLA programs, there's a college and lacrosse program out there that suits just about anybody who wants to keep playing.

Good luck. Have fun. Enjoy the ride. What you thought was important in life before you started this process is still what's important now that you're headed into it.

Re: College recruiting - Finding the Right School

PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 6:54 pm
by DlaxDad
I wandered back into this forum after a few years away and saw that it's had more than 23,000 views. Wow. I don't know what I expected when I started writing this, but I hope the travelogue was of some use to someone.

Where are we? The boy's taken a circuitous route. He's still in school, back on this coast, not playing lacrosse. Not at all what we expected.

But he's happy. He's getting a terrific education. He's learned a lot of important lessons along the way. He's an impressive, thoughtful, compassionate, and passionate young man. I'm really proud of him. My mom always told me that one of the joys of parenthood is when your kids grow up and it turns out you like them as people. We're at that stage with Conan (and with his terrific siblings, too -- my wife and I are feeling very blessed).

I learned some lessons, too. It's not my life to live, it's his. Be flexible. Back them up wherever they go, however many turns it takes for them to get there. Keep faith. I'm kind of a '76er -- if you think you gave your offspring good values, believe in the process.

Oh, and one last thing that was always true, I just didn't always know how true. Want to make God laugh? Make plans.