As I’ve alluded to before, I enjoy covering college athletic signings, events in which high school student-athletes announce their plans for a bright future at the next level that they have earned over the course of years of hard work.
It is easy to be happy for young people when you see that they have important elements of their futures secured.
Obviously, when I cover these signings, a great deal of the student-athlete’s focus is on the athletic side of things. The sports reporter in me loves that because it signals that they will be really pouring themselves into their sport and possibly making headlines at the college level that I will be able to report on back home.
But I’m also particularly excited when the student-athlete expresses enthusiasm about their major, about what they are going to be learning in the classroom.
The reality is that their athletic careers probably have only four more years left in them. If they go pro and prove to be superstars in their sports, that’s sensational! Even so, their careers will probably still wind down and conclude in the latter half of their 30s, and then they will need a plan for the next 30 years of their professional lives.
I want them to truly go out at the height of their abilities on the athletic front, be that in college or in the professional ranks, but I also want to be happy for them that they have a great plan for what will end up being the majority of their lives after all of that is over.
A perfect example of this is recently graduated Longwood University softball star Karleigh Donovan. She truly went out on top as a Lancer, having her best college season ever this year, which was her redshirt senior year. However, her softball career may actually continue at the professional level as she has a standing offer to play in a pro league.
She may have to defer this chance until next year, though.
It would be easy to imagine someone doing a double take at that. “Wait, what?! Why would she turn down an opportunity to play pro softball?!”
Well, it’s simple. She applied herself in the classroom like she did on the diamond, and with careful planning, even before graduating with her degree in sociology, she had already lined up a job as an autistic instructor in Rockville, Maryland.
Everyone else’s story may not be quite that spectacular, but I hope it can be similar.
A popular adage used in athletics is “Proper preparation prevents poor performance.”
Part of that preparation involves having a game plan. Please, student-athletes, be working on your game plans for life now to make it easier to ensure a strong performance.
TITUS MOHLER is the sports editor for The Farmville Herald and Farmville Newsmedia LLC. His email address is Titus.Mohler@FarmvilleHerald.com.