Being a sports fan and a fan of college athletics, I appreciated last week a little more than most people would.
Players from several local schools in Pickens and Anderson Counties signed letters of intent to continue their careers at the next level, and it got me thinking about just how hard that actually is.
I played high school sports but never had a shot to continue on in college. I did, however, room with four college basketball players during my time at North Greenville University.
I remember sitting in a room with them one night, listening to them recall the glory days of their high school years. Buzzer-beating shots. State playoffs. Career highs. Sure every story was probably greatly exaggerated.
After all, who was going to check their old stats from high school?
None of my friends had the opportunity to win a state championship in their senior season. They talked about their final game as a high school athlete and what it meant to them. The disappointment. The shock. For most of their teammates, it was the end of the road.
But for my friends, it was the beginning of a new journey.
I know what kind of impact signing day has. It begins a new road. The players who signed last week will see new stats, new career highs, new teammates and new chances to make an impact.
Most of all, it is an opportunity to further your education. A college education is one of the most valuable assets in the today’s society, and each of these athletes (with hard work) has found a way to make it happen.
These kids stay late after school, wake up early for workouts and continue honing their crafts long after everyone else has quit for the day. Some of the players that signed with a college last week will make a name for themselves in college. All of them will be a part of the elite group that is college athletes.
Last week was an exciting week for me as a college sports fan, but it was even more exciting for the athletes who now have the opportunity to play on the next level.