When it comes to college football recruiting these days, the prevailing theme amongst a lot of fans seems to be “What have you done for me lately?” The diehards spend hours a day, scouring the internet or watching various recruiting shows, clamoring for the latest scoop about the latest and greatest blue chip prospects around the country. Once they get wind that the next Matt Barkley or Robert Woods are considering suiting up for their favorite team, the excitement gets kicked into overdrive; it’s an instant love affair.
The various different sources of social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, allow people even closer access to these recruits. They flood their inbox with ‘friend’ or ‘follow’ requests, hoping to get “in” with the next big phenom. They take to posting on the player’s walls, saying anything and everything in hopes of getting these kids to sign with their school. For most athletes, the amount of attention that is initially bombarded upon them can be quite flattering. Most of the athletes even enjoy the attention for a while. Who wouldn’t enjoy being told how great they are or how people can’t wait until you bring a National Championship to their University.
However, when commitment time comes, and a coveted player decides to sign elsewhere, the tide turns. Like a scorned lover, those same admirers, who months earlier were enamored with players the likes of Justin Davis, Michael Hutchings, and Eddie Vanderdoes, want nothing more to do with them; labeling them turncoats, traitors, and certainly unworthy of their school’s scholarship. Literally overnight, for the “so-called” fan it’s on to the next bigger and better star, as if the last recruit never even existed.
Fans have every right to be passionate about their teams—to live, eat, and die with them. That’s what makes sports so great. It’s an outlet, an escape from the rigors of the real world, even if it is only a few hours at a time. There is nothing wrong with being upset and disappointed if a recruit chooses to play somewhere else; it’s a natural reaction. Everybody wants the best of the best suiting up for the school they have a “rooting” interest in. Unfortunately, when things don’t go according to plan, some only see the side of the story that most benefits them, instead of looking at the entire overall picture.
The aspect that most fail to see, is when these young kids are mulling multiple scholarship offers, many factors need to be weighed in deciding what is the best fit for them Whether its location, athletic and academic needs, career potential; it all has to be taken into consideration in order to ensure a successful future.
It’s a life changing decision that goes far beyond who has the best fans, or who is going to win the most championships. Ultimately for the athlete, it comes down to being true to one’s self—above all else.