I’ve spent the last four Septembers driving through every small town in Pennsylvania, watching Tori develop into a decent field hockey player. Before that, I spent two springs doing the same.
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As she approached her senior year in high school, we were not aggressive about touting her talents to every Division One Team in the nation because frankly, it costs a pretty penny to get your child noticed.
My husband and I both believe that an athlete’s talent ought to speak for itself, but the reality is this; you have to be seen at every college camp, at Festivals held in California and Florida, play for every and any team within a five thousand mile radius, and send your films and endless begging emails to any coaches or teams that MIGHT have a spot for you.
We are among many other families in this country that just do not have the money for this kind of advertising. So, in the end, you not only have to have natural God given talent, you also have to have some wealthy family members to help you along the way.
Fortunately for Tori, there WERE some D-1 teams that expressed interest in her, and for a while we expected her to attend a smaller D-1 school that was fairly close to home.
Then the calls started.
They were from a D-3 coach who was extremely interested in her, and she would not give up. She called her weekly, kept up on her games and her accomplishments, and made her feel important.
It was after her season ended last year that she informed us that she wanted to visit this particular coach, her university, and see what she had to offer.
I laughed it off at first. “What??” I said. “But that’s NOT a D-1 school! Surely you are kidding.”
“Mom. It’s JUST a visit.”
And so we went on a visit. It was her life and her path and she needed to be informed so that she could make a decision that was best for her.
We went on a Friday and I dropped her off with a group of girls I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW. I drove to my hotel thinking that this was probably the craziest thing I had ever done.
We left the following afternoon.
“That’s it. THAT is where I want to go to Washington and Jefferson. Those are the girls I want to play with, and that is the coach that I want to play for.”
I tried to keep my mouth shut. It didn’t work.
“But it’s NOT A D-1 SCHOOL! You are so talented! Don’t…”
“Mom, stop. Listen to me. Why do I want to go to a school where I have to fight for three years for the OFF CHANCE that I MIGHT play when I’m a senior? WHY? I want to play now. I want to play with a team that plays as a team- not where people are only playing for themselves.”
I digested this on the long ride home.
She was right.
Last week she called me after her first college game.
“Mom! WE WON 5-1!! And guess what? I started. I played MOST of the game! I came out by mistake and when coach realized I was out she sent me back in!”
I was so proud, and couldn’t really talk for a minute.
But then, she continued, “Mom, this is what I’ve worked so hard for all these years. THIS. I feel like it has all this hard work has paid off.”
And with that, I knew that she was right where she was supposed to be.