To be or not to be… a college freshman.

It was 2004, David and I had just celebrated our three-year anniversary.    After a successful junior year in high school, both academically and athletically, and a few promising summer showcases, David began to make a name for himself among pro and college scouts.   His last year of varsity baseball was upon us and as quickly as it came, it went.  His last year was as successful as anyone could have hoped for.  It was at this point that many inevitable questions began requiring answers.
I remember multiple conversations regarding whether college would be the best choice given his academic strengths, as well as the possibility to reach the college world series – a major goal of many baseball players.   There was also the serious consideration that had to be given to accepting a professional contract.   David was considered a potential top 60 pick that year and several teams had expressed interest in signing him.
For most 17 years olds – David was months shy of being old enough to vote – these decisions can be overwhelming to say the least.    There were many factors to consider and many pro and con lists to develop.    David spent most of the past year visiting colleges and examining the pros and cons of each, nevertheless, it didn’t take long before he committed to the University of Virginia.   I am definitely more of a feeler than a thinker, so I went with my one and only choice, The “U” aka UM in Miami.
Needless to say, David was drafted out of high school, but much later than anticipated since it was on every scouts’ radar that he would be attending college.  I can neither agree nor disagree with his decision to choose college, but I can tell you what I have come to believe over the years.
We spent three years in college, (I graduated early and David was drafted after his junior year) and many long months apart.  There were many great memories at UVA, but much to our disappointment, David never did achieve his goal of winning the college world series.  There was much he gained by having attended school, but at times I find myself asking him “Baby, what if?”   I then revert to my firm beliefs that everything happens for a reason.     There is no point in asking what if?   All David and I can do is learn from our experiences and use them as guidance in the future.
One thing I have taken from all of this and that I hope to pass on to my children, is that you have to follow your dreams.   Ever since David could remember, his ambition was to be a hall of fame baseball player.   Unlike many professions, baseball is a career that is short lived.   You basically have an expiration date written on your forehead and if all you have ever wanted to do is play baseball, then I wouldn’t wait a day longer than necessary.    David was given the chance to do what he loved and make a living off of it at 18, something few could dream of.    College does have its value, trust me, I know – I am staring at 100K in debt and a Diploma in Business Administration– Wooohooo.   College will always wait for you, while baseball will turn you away.   I have heard of 40 year olds going back to school, but how many 40 year olds are starting a career as a baseball player?  Well now that, is a rhetorical question.
P.S. You may say that three years playing college ball is beneficial to a player, but all it takes is one bad year for your stock to go down.   At the end of the day you are a commodity.   David had a KILLER sophomore year and was expected to go top 30 in the 2008 draft, only to be struck by his unavoidable destiny and a disappointing junior year.   We were happy the Yankees stepped up and drafted David in the third round because just as easily as he was sought after one year, he was a “questionable” choice the next.
 Welcome to the world of professional sports.   You gotta love it!


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