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The huddle

June 4, 2017

Recruiting Horror Story: Daunting Experience

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The college recruiting experience can be very daunting. Choosing a college is a big decision for any 18-year-old and adding athletics into the mix can make it intimidating. However, it is a rewarding experience if you have the right mindset. Whether a recruiting trip is spot-on or produces a potential recruiting horror story, there is always the opportunity to learn something from the experience.

As a high school senior, nothing is more exciting than the thought of playing the sport you love at the collegiate level. It was the fall of my junior year of high school when I decided that I wanted to play water polo in college. I contacted as many coaches as I could. I worked with my high school coaches to create a recruiting tape that would best showcase my skills and stats. I ended up scheduling four official visits and several unofficial visits. One trip that went bad fell on the weekend of my 18th birthday. I was so excited in the moments leading up to this trip because all the interactions I had with the coach were positive and he kept reiterating that I would be a key playmaker starting right from the start of my freshman season. It seemed to be everything I was looking for; a DI program, excellent business school, and a great athletic department. Little did I know all my assumptions were completely wrong.

The day I arrived on campus, my dad and I went straight to meet with the head coach. My first impression was not great. He was late and very distracted. He would talk to my dad never looking up from his computer. I didn’t get the idea that he cared about our time or me as an athlete. After my dad had left, I went to meet my host and the other recruits. We all went back to the dorms to drop off our bags and then our hosts dropped us all off at a tour and disappeared! We were completely alone to tour the campus and to make matters worse; it was aggressively snowing. They left us for around three hours, and by the time they came back, we were all exhausted.

When the first day was over, I was exhausted, and all I wanted to do was go to sleep. My host showed me where I could shower as she set up my air mattress. After I got back from showering, (only in my towel), there were TONS of people all over the room. I already wasn’t having a good time, and now there were strangers everywhere…oh and I was naked. I got my clothes as fast as I could and sprinted to go change in the bathroom. Finally, when everyone left, I was able to go to sleep, but not for long. I was woken up at 5am to girls from the team taking shots. They were “pregaming” for the big basketball game that we were going to later on. I knew that drinking would jeopardize my chance to get a scholarship (it was said about 100 times in my meeting with the coach) and to play on the team and I was not going to let that happen, so I pretended to still be asleep and waited for things to settle down. This was the moment I knew that this was not the school or the team that I wanted to be a part of. When we were on the way to the basketball game, I texted my dad to tell him I wanted to leave before the trip was over and he came and got me shortly after the game.

Even though this trip was not what I expected, it taught me about what was important. I knew that I did not want to be on a team where the coach didn’t appreciate me, nonetheless look up from his computer to have a conversation. I did not want to be on a team where my teammates drank during their competition season, and I did not want to be at a place that made me feel so uncomfortable with making decisions against the norm. This trip may have been my worst visit, but it helped me to realize what I value in a team and a coach.

YOUR JOURNEY STARTS HERE