Dear High School Superstar

Dear High School Superstar,

I want you to know that life is going to change. It isn’t going to be what it was, and you need to be ready for that. Your life is adverse enough, so I’m sure you’ll understand. Right?

Soon enough, you’ll be walking through your new campus, excited about what your future has in store for you. You might be thinking, “can I start as a freshman?” Or maybe, “will I break the 1,000 point mark here, too?”

You’re going to walk through the hall to your first class and realize that nobody knows who you are. Teachers won’t be asking you how many points you had last night, or how many strikeouts you threw. They won’t let you pass in a homework assignment two weeks late because you’re the quarterback and you need to win the Friday. And if you skip four or five classes, you won’t here your teacher say “don’t worry about it.” In fact, your teacher might not even realize that you’re missing.

If you make the team (if, being the key word) you’re going to realize that college athletics aren’t the breeze you think they are. You’re going to see that when you’re in season, you hardly have time to sleep. Why? Because you have 6 AM lift, class from 8-2, study hall from 2-3, and practice from 4-7. Two games a week, at least. If you’re really good, you might play a quarter of the game, Coach isn’t going to sit an upperclassman because you can hit wide open shots from way downtown, or hit wide open receivers against mediocre defenses.

Athlete, I’m not bitter. I want to warn you. You very well may have what it takes to be a college athlete. You might even be good enough to play after college. If you can, that’s amazing. But if you can’t, you can’t. And that’s okay too.

As a high school athlete, I was never the top scorer in every game. I wasn’t the best shooter, hardest thrower, fastest runner, or hardest hitter. I was a teammate, and I understood my role. You, athlete, as the superstar, need to realize your role, too. You are also a teammate. Respect your teammates, because soon enough, those teammates won’t be yours anymore. If you play in college, you’re going to have new teammates. Some of them might not pass you the ball because they don’t think you’re as good as you think you are.

Remember that time you didn’t hit that wide open receiver, because you didn’t like him? You won that game so it didn’t matter, he wasn’t very good anyways. Or that time you had your teammate wide open on the three point line, but decided to force up your 18th shot of the game… in the first half. She might have hit her last three shots, but it didn’t matter to you. As long as you got your buckets it didn’t matter. What about the time coach told you to run a play, but you didn’t? You ran the one you wanted. You weren’t benched for it, even if you knew your coach was livid.

And now it starts to hit you. You don’t feel like it’s worth it anymore, you feel depleted. All that time and effort, and for what?

If you ever get to this point, remember why you’re going to school. You might play ball all four years of college, but what next? It’s not going to last forever. And then you’ll realize that you might have picked a dumb major; one that you didn’t really like, but knew it was easy. And you might end up going back home, living in mom and dad’s basement, and watching old game tapes.

Athlete, I know that the above statement is a bit extreme, but be aware that it’s certainly a reality. What I want you to know is that there is more to life than throwing the most passing yards in a single season, or scoring 1,000 points. You have a whole life to live. Don’t relive four years of your life forever, because you’ll miss the things that are the most important.

Sincerely,

Someone who almost was