CONTACT SPORTS: Time to sign

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 21, 2002


With graduation around the corner, it’s no wonder high school seniors around here are getting ready to hold two documents, a diploma and a scholarship contract.

Everyone in the River Parishes, as well as the surrounding areas, knows a large portion of the state’s high school talent stems from here, but this is the season when the names are signed in ink as proof.

Observers may remark of how only one percent of a team’s total players will receive phone calls and valuable offers from colleges, but considering the circumstances involved, one percent begins to stand out like the players it represents.

It’s a given fact that a team needs a strong number of players for a successful season, but only a portion of them will be seniors who have both the grades and talent to take their sport to the next level. It’s the same scenario for every team in every sport.

Some players might have the athletic ability to terrorize a season full of opponents with a ball, but then not complete the scholarship circle with steady grades. That’s a firm slap in the face.

Hopefully those student-athletes won’t lose their drive and attempt to spend a semester or two practicing for As instead of Ks or TDs.

It’s always possible to bring up a GPA, then catch the ride during sophomore year and go from there.

On the bright side, the season off might make the transition to college life a little smoother without having the added responsibility of sports on the mind.

But anyone who receives the right phone call, makes the right visit and accepts a college scholarship for doing what they had to do and what they enjoyed afterwards, sees it as their golden ticket to a continued future.

It’s interesting to watch the range of expressions that travel across a high school senior’s face when they describe how it felt to get that first call, then actually sign with the school, and what happened when what’s happening really hit home.

One young lady I spoke to mentioned that she didn’t want to sound crazy, but she was out in the grocery store and suddenly just wanted to jump up and down.

No matter if there is a small percentage of a school’s seniors signing, what makes the difference and makes an area standout, is the continuation of signings from year to year and no sign of it stopping.

Again, it may not be spotlight recognition for every player on the team, but it does offer proof to back up a growing reputation.

If any other students are signing with colleges, please contact me or send me a picture and information.

ROBERT L. LEE is the sports editor. He can be reached at 985-652-9545.