It’s Signing Week

This is the week when high school tennis players (and all high school athletes for that matter) can first sign on the proverbial dotted line to commit to playing their sport at the collegiate level.  There are press conferences, lots of picture-taking, and lots of hype surrounding the top players – TennisRecruiting devotes a ton of bandwidth to Signing Week and where the Blue Chips and 5-Stars are headed next Fall.  It’s a pretty big deal!

We are still two years away from Signing Week in our house, thank goodness.  And, I know to my son that seems like an eternity.  But for me, I’m realizing that it’s right around the corner.  Two years can pass in the blink of an eye.

I’m trying to urge him – nudge him gently – to start taking bolder steps in his college recruiting journey.  I forward him the articles on TennisRecruiting that address the essential parts of the process.  I casually mention tips I’ve heard from coaches and consultants that might help him.  I post videos on his Facebook wall showing college teams in action in hopes of inspiring him to take action.

Ultimately, I have to let him drive the bus.  This has to be his thing.  I can’t do it for him, as much as I might want to.  It’s tough for me to sit back and twiddle my thumbs – that’s not really my personality at all – while I wait for him to act, but I’m going to do it.  I’m going to let this come from him because it has to come from him.  I will guide.  I will support.  But I will not do.

And, in two years, when Signing Week has a direct impact on my family, I am confident that I will have some good news to report.  My son has worked hard.  He will continue to work hard.  He will do what he needs to do to reach his goal of playing college tennis.  Because that’s how we’ve raised him.  And that’s the expectation he has of himself.  And he wants to sign on that dotted line.

A Sickening Lesson

My son and I both learned a very valuable lesson this week.  Unfortunately, it involved a nasty case of food poisoning (we think), but, hey, sometimes you have to suffer in order to grow, right?

Wednesday was the first scheduled match of my son’s high school tennis season.  He didn’t know if he would get to be in the lineup as a first-year Freshman, but he was so excited at the prospect of playing for his school.  He was coming off a great tournament win the weekend before and was working hard to be ready to compete.

The Tuesday before was Valentine’s Day.  Since my hubby was out of town, I figured I’d fix a dinner for my son and myself that wasn’t one of hubby’s favs – Shepherd’s Pie.  We had a nice dinner followed by home-made chocolate chip cookies and went about our evening.

A few hours later, my son and I both woke up deathly ill.  Either we both came down with the same nasty stomach flu or something wasn’t quite right with the shepherd’s pie.  Needless to say, there was no way my son was going to school the next day OR playing his match.  He was so disappointed, and so was I.

The next day (Thursday), after recovering to about 75%, he went back to school and to after-school drills.  He talked to his coach about how bummed he was to miss the school match.  And, that’s when he learned another invaluable lesson from his amazing coach:  Treat high school matches the same way you treat a tournament!  Go through your same rituals, eat your same pre-match meals, do what you need to do to get your mind and your body ready to compete.

If he or I had thought of that on Tuesday, all this awful stomach junk could’ve been avoided because I would’ve cooked pasta for dinner like I always do the night before a tournament, even though it was Valentine’s Day.  Okay, lesson learned.