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Adjusting to College life and Softball

sluggers

Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
5,902
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Dallas, Texas
Synopsis of the thread:

The parent says that her DD went to college. After six months, the DD has come to the realization that softball at college is a tremendous amount of work and that there is no guarantee that she will play. The DD is struggling with the time commitment at D1. The DD is regretting the loss of a personal life and wondering if playing softball is worth it.
 
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sluggers

Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
5,902
83
Dallas, Texas
To be honest, it sounds like the DD is beginning to think and develop her own values.

D1 softball is a lot of work. There is no guarantee that anyone will play. And, to top it all off, softball has little, if any, affect on DD's future success in the world. (What really matters to the DD's future success is how well she does in her math/biology/English classes. You would be surprised at how few employers care if someone knows how to throw a great over-the-top drop.) Any reasonable, thinking person should be asking, "Why the h*ll am I doing this?"

There is no solution. Some people will say, "Forget it. " Others will say, "I love to play the game. I'll stick it out." What is right for one person won't be right for the other.
 
May 5, 2008
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Oh man - as someone who was overwhelmed as a college freshman at a DI school, I know that was one thing I wished someone had told me before I got there: how overwhelming it could be and how NORMAL it is to feel that way. I make sure to tell the players I work with, who are going on to the college level, that it's not going to be easy, that it IS going to take an adjustment, that it WILL feel overwhelming, that conditioning IS going to kick their butt, but that I also KNOW they can handle it. They also know they can call me or contact me at any time if they need to.

DI softball IS without a doubt challenging, but is also so worth it. Truthfully, that first year is the toughest. After that, it's no big deal, you get used to it (not that it's suddenly "easy" but it doesn't feel so overwhelming). I'm not sure I agree with the statement that softball has nothing to do with future success in life. I did great in school, but none of those things I learned in history, or in science, or in religion class is what I consider to be most impactful in my life now. All the amazing life lessons you learn and get to practice on the softball field however, are invaluable!

Being able to rise to the challenge of handling the schedule AND still maintaining a good and rewarding personal life is something that is wonderful practice for "real" life. Life doesn't get any easier after college. AND this is the ONLY chance she will ever have to do this. You can decide 5 years later that now you're ready to go through the DI student-athlete experience. It's not something that lasts forever. It's not going to be her life for the next 20+ years.

Of course, if you lose the love of it, what's the point? But if softball IS something you love and has always been part of who you are and what you do, it's not something I would so easily give up on.

I don't want to offend anyone with what I'm about to say next (so if you're the sensitive type, stop reading now), but one thing I noticed in college was that the mainland US girls that came down and joined me as freshman - they were such cry babies! They came from families that could afford travel ball and all that, so in general, they had more than most the Hawaii girls on the team. We didn't have that type of softball environment. The ones that "made it" weren't on any type of travel ball circuit or anything like that. Most of us didn't come from families that could have ever afforded it. Our outlook and mindset were very different from the girls that came from the mainland US who lived in multiple store houses and had a floor all to themselves or who's parents had given them both a jeep AND a motorcycle? Basically I think they just came from a much more pampered life style and college was a huge transition. They were complaining about how they weren't used to the way DI college life was. It didn't dawn on them somehow, that none of us were used to sitting on the bench. Here they were grumbling and complaining while on full ride, while half the Hawaii girls were in the same situation (not playing when they weren't used to it), weren't on scholarship, and were going to school, playing DI softball, AND working to pay for college!!! I don't know how they did it, but they simply did what they had to do without all the grumbling. That's the kind of life they came from. Less pampered - so while college was still a huge adjustment and transition it wasn't something that was simply given up upon. KWIM?

One more thing: I thought that being part of a team was a GREAT way to experience "college life" - you already "belong" to a group (your team) and you already have an identity (you're an athlete) so often times you "instantly" have other athletes trying to make friends and such. I imagine going off to some big college without that must be even more intimidating when you are nobody and you have to find a "group" to belong to.
 
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Sep 6, 2009
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State of Confusion
Well, thats why they look for girls with good grades too. The extra demands of athletic participation could sink poor students.

Remember that theres a lot of students that will struggle with college anyway, athletics or not. For the first time in their lives, kids are often on their own, paying some bills, washing their clothes, waking up and getting to class and everywhere else they need to be, studying every spare minute, and just trying to make a little free time to socialize. No mom or dad to remind and depend on as a backup. All that can be pretty overwhelming at first by itself.
 

sluggers

Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
5,902
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Dallas, Texas
First, let's be very clear: D1 coaches get fired if they don't win. So, their main goal is to win games. They give the politically correct speeches and talk up academics, but beyond that, they are just like D1 football coaches.

Stacie, with due respect, you are putting way too much value on playing sports in college. If playing sports taught some kind of metaphysical lesson about life, then Michael Vick, Tiger Woods and Gilbert Arenas would be model citizens. There is nothing magical that happens on a collegiate softball field, hockey rink or basketball court. You can learn as much about teamwork and dedication in a chemistry lab or in the marching band as you can on a softball field.

You *personally* might enjoy softball more. But, someone else might enjoy chemistry, music, art, history, engineering or mathematics more.

Kids only get one shot to play college softball. But, they also only get one chance to ace calculus, art history, or creative writing.

I did great in school, but none of those things I learned in history, or in science, or in religion class is what I consider to be most impactful in my life now.
huh? Two of my kids played college sports. They are now working in the field they got their degree in, as do I and my wife. The courses they took in their major puts money in their bank accounts.

I hate to bust everyone's bubble about sports, most people who go to college aren't into sports.

Well, thats why they look for girls with good grades too.
That is what D1 coaches say, but that is not the truth. Most D1 coaches don't care what the grades are. They looks for people who can play the game. They put poor students into some easy classes so the kids can stay eligible.
 
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Jan 13, 2009
52
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i don't know if this adds to the conversation or not, but my two cents worth:

My son turned down athletic scholorship money and walked on the same DII team instead. When he saw the difference between his midterm grades and final grades, and then experienced difficulties enrolling in classes required for his major, he walked back off the team.

My daughter is considering only DIII schools because the money resides on the academic side. She also wants the academic freedom if she needs it.

Coaches are hired to win. The attitude, effort and experience of college are completely different than what has been previously experienced in travel ball or school ball. It is the parents moral responsibility (and in most cases financial responsibility) to make sure the correct balance is achieved to obtain the final objective, a degree. That balance is different for each child, but if she is doing it in college, the end point is the same for each girl, a degree that allows them to move on in a chosen field. Why be there if that isn't the end point?
 
May 7, 2008
468
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Morris County, NJ
Stacie: Thanks for taking the time to add your personal experience to this discussion. Your view and look at things is different than perhaps others here which is why we all participate in groups such as these.

You competed collegiately in D1 softball and graduated with a degree. Was it in 4 years or did you need extra time due to athletics? If you had a time machine and could go back would you do anything different?

I wouldn't. I played 2 years D 111 and then chose to buckle down and graduate on time (needed to work also). I wouldn't change anything. Glad to have the experiences I did and the opportunities the experiences opened up. What athletics did teach me was better time management (that term did not exist back in Stone age) and how to be prepared by:
1. Always going to class
2. Read the book ahead of attending class so you know what is being discussed so you can ask questions on topics that you don't understand.
3. Study your notes of this class later that day to refresh what you learned.
4. Study or work on each subject for 20-30 minutes every day. You have enough free time, promise.
5. Do your homework to reinforce what is being taught.
6. They have tutors available (usually for free for most students) if you need help. Use them if you need them.
 
May 5, 2008
358
0
You *personally* might enjoy softball more. But, someone else might enjoy chemistry, music, art, history, engineering or mathematics more.

Kids only get one shot to play college softball. But, they also only get one chance to ace calculus, art history, or creative writing.
True - that's why I input that part about if you've lost the love of it vs if softball IS something you love.

Also - you don't only get one chance to ace calculus or art history or creative writing. I know many, many, many people in their 30's who are now going back to school to complete something they gave up on earlier in life. You have that opportunity with classes and with learning. You can find about more about who you are as a person, figure about what you really want to study and go back to it later if that's a situation you end up finding yourself in.

The same is not true for playing DI sports in college. That's the main reason I say that if it's something you've wanted and if softball is something that you love to do, don't give up on it! The first year in college usually is way tougher than the rest. But give it a good shot that first year, and like others have mentioned, after a year or so if you decide that you really want to drop it and pursue just your field of study, then so be it.

3's dad: you know, if there's any time in my life that people ask about doing differently it's college. Mostly because I didn't finish. I completed 3 semesters and made one decision that changed my life forever (I probably wouldn't be here having this conversation with you otherwise) I kept the daughter I conceived with my husband during my 2nd year in college. I'll never know for sure, but I don't think school would have taken much extra time. Up to the point I left I had carried either 15 or 16 credits per semester while playing ball and had a 3.87 cumulative GPA. Honestly, because I went to a very academically challenging high school, college academics were actually easier than high school was for me.

Would I do anything differently - no, it would vastly change my life and who I am now and where I am now and I love where I am, the family I have, and what I do now too much to want to change anything that's happened in the past.

I do have a 2 year degree and have learned tons about what I do now through non-traditional educational sources. Right now the only reason I'd go back to college is so that I could coach at the college level. However, I don't plan on committing that much time to a job until my kids are all much older. ;)
 

Hitter

Banned
Dec 6, 2009
653
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We have about 70 plus kids in college at all levels of the game and during the holidays I ask about 15 of our kids what was the biggest single thing they could give an incoming freashmen.

The first thing out of their mouths is TIME MANAGEMENT!

They had no idea the amount of time they were going to spend on softball was 20 to 30 hours a week plus their individual routines to improve on hitting, fielding and or pitching.
Some stated I had to find time to eat and do clothes and suddenly remembered Mom was not fixing meals or doing my laundry anymore. Making sure my home work was done and that I got my study time in and suddenly I discovered I did not have a personal life anymore and it was over whelming. It is shock to some of these kids as the parents have always provided for them and made sure they had everything and forgot they will have to learn to do some of this own their own!

The next big issues was as one girl said, "It was girls gone wild!" She said some of these girls were use to curfews and parents watching over their shoulders and suddenly their was no one telling them what to do socially and the morals to say the least were thrown out the door. Some told stories the girls were back home before Christmas because of situations they had got them self into.

You parents need to develop your kids instincts to who to hang with and what the consequences are for their actions when they stray from your family values you have hopefully given them along with the responsibilities for their lack of judgment in some potentially tough situations. At 17 (we have several that graduated high school early) and 18 years old they have not been exposed to much as far as life experiences and now they are off to college with girls and boys who sway their choices because they are there and you are not. Some of these girls get very depressed and home sick and what is their support network like? Who are they going to call? Stay in touch with them and try to visit and meet their friends. Teach them some life skills along with the softball skills....please!

Thanks Howard
 

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