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Hard work and dedication paying off for county student-athletes

Posted: November 17, 2013 - 12:09am  |  Updated: November 17, 2013 - 1:32am

As you see on this page, it was the beginning of the early signing season Wednesday for basketball and all other sports excluding football, soccer, track and field and cross country.

By the end of this week, no fewer than 13 Columbia County seniors will sign the papers that commit them to playing their sport of choice at their (hopefully) school of choice.

I can only imagine the joy and relief that the signing brings, no matter at what stage in the process. Unlike this group, the ones who went before them and the ones who came after, I never really had a solid plan for after high school.

I always just assumed I would attend the University of Maryland, but living overseas my grades/SAT scores didn’t reach out-of-state requirements and the military was my emergency Plan B. It turned out to be the most important thing I’ve done in my life to date, but that’s for another time in another forum.

Much talk has been made recently of collegiate athletes, mainly basketball players, attending college for a year then jumping to the professional ranks. One-and-done, as it were.

What this county group has done is no different to an extent. They are going to colleges and universities to continue playing the sport they love and hopefully prepare for their future in the process.

One of the questions I always ask at signings is, “What is your major going to be?” I ask because the vast majority of collegiate athletes across the wide spectrum will never know what it’s like to be a professional athlete. While they attend college and the coaches use them for their skill in a sport, I always hope the student-athletes will be able to see the bigger picture and take advantage of the educational opportunities that are offered to them.

Other students receive scholarships for different things and may not get the adulation we give to the student-athletes, but that in no way diminishes their accomplishments.

What these signings mean to me is that the majority of those going on to play at the next level will do so because of an incredible amount of hard work and dedication, and that’s what shouldn’t be overlooked.

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