In the minds of many players and parents, a college athletic scholarship is the pot of gold that comes at the end of the youth sports rainbow.
In reality, all that glimmers in the eye of doting parents and dreaming youngsters is more likely to be fool’s gold than a full ride to an institution of higher learning.
"Play the game because you love the game with no expectation."
A recent article in The New York Times focused on the struggle between expectation and reality, citing examples that show that if parents expect to be compensated for years of spending on their child’s sports, they will likely walk away disillusioned, disgusted and disappointed.
“You shouldn’t be doing this [playing hockey] if you’re expecting a financial pay off in the end,” said Hal Tearse, Minnesota Hockey’s coach-in-chief. “I think parents will be very disappointed if they do.”
Tearse found while researching for his monthly newsletter, “Thoughts From The Bench,” that there are only a handful of athletic scholarships awarded annually at Div. I schools being fought over by players from Minnesota and the rest of the country, not to mention Canada and other countries. Factored into the equation is the fact that Div. I schools are only allocated a maximum of 18 scholarships (consisting of tuition, room & board and books), that can then be divided among the 26 players (average) on the roster.
Parents and players must also realize that there is no such thing as a four-year scholarship but rather a one-year renewable scholarship that can be altered at the end of each season. A scholarship cannot be terminated during the season for poor athletic performance, but it can be for off-ice conduct or classroom performance.
In order to maximize the window of opportunity, parents must begin to re-evaluate the concept of athletic scholarships. Earning a college scholarship is no longer based off of talent alone. Athletes are judged on their on-ice performance, off-ice conduct and perhaps most importantly, their grades.
“As a parent your job is to make sure they’re doing well in school,” said Mark Tabrum, USA Hockey’s director of the Coaching Education Program. “Make sure they’re taking all their core classes so they’re eligible through the NCAA Clearinghouse, and make sure they are good model citizens. So that if it does play out, those things aren’t being held against the person or the player.”
Ultimately, college recruiters and coaches have the final say on whether or not a player will fit on the team. Parents should support their children without becoming too anxious for a shot at a scholarship.
The reality of the matter is simple. Players are going to play for the love of the game and any additional opportunity they receive is gravy. The key to being a hockey parent thrown into the scholarship process is to not make an issue about the money.
“Play the game because you love the game with no expectation,” Tearse said. “Some kids will get lucky, and that’s great.”
Go to NCAAstudent.org and click on the Guide For The College-Bound Student Athlete to learn more.
Good Sport | Make Peace With Change
By Dan Saferstein
Our children’s athletic lives are constantly changing, and as their parents, we need to be agile and graceful enough to change with them. We can’t get too attached to the team decals on the back of our vans, because there’s no guarantee that next year our child will be playing on the same team, or even playing the same sport.
As parents, we might have certain plans for our children’s athletic lives, but we have to accept that the Sports Universe has its own plans and its own timetable.
This means we need to be patient. We sometimes just need to wait and watch. We can’t force our children to follow our vision or even to follow a vision they once had. We have to accept that their visions will change. We have to let them grown up.
The biggest change that looms on the horizon for all sports parents is the day when their children’s competitive sports activities will come to an end. For most of us, this is hard to imagine, even heartbreaking to imagine, but I still think it’s important to pull back the lens from time to time and get a wider parental perspective.
It helps counteract the addictive quality of the sports parenthood experience. It helps remind us that sports is only a small part of our relationship with our children, even during those seasons when it seems to take up so much of our time.
Taken from “Win or Lose: A Guide To Sports Parenting” by Dan Saferstein, Ph.D. To learn more, go to DanSaferstein.com.
Hockey Volunteer Of The Month
St. Clair Shores, Mich.
Bill’s involvement in the game of hockey didn’t start out on ice, but in a gymnasium, and on roller skates.
“I wanted to play hockey,” says DiLaura, “but there weren’t many rinks in the Detroit suburb where I grew up.”
So Bill spent his youth learning the game by playing street hockey. Dec-ades later, he is still at it, only he has finally found the ice.
DiLaura not only skates in an adult league, but also served as the registrar and statistician for many years.
In addition to volunteering with the adult league, DiLaura also made
a 60-mile round-trip journey to help coach one of his grand kid’s teams.
“I’m the kind of guy where if you need help, I’ll help,” he says. “I’ve enjoyed being involved with the game and helping out.”