Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Separating From the Pack in the Summer - Written by Alexis Kantor ’14, Softball

Alexis KantorI came home one evening after a typical day of just hanging out with my friends. I was in the doldrums of summer. My father told me that I had a doctor’s appointment the next day to meet with a surgeon about my umbilical hernia. In my case, this hernia was no life-threatening situation, but it was something worth examining to make sure I could keep playing sports. I’ve always had a knack for science and medicine, so the next day when I was in the doctors office, I was very excited to meet the general surgeon. We talked all about the different kinds of hernia’s and procedures, and I was so fascinated that I couldn’t resist asking if I could observe him in a real live surgery. He took me over to meet with his secretary, and with patience and a positive attitude, my wish was granted. 

Being in the operating room with a surgical team is analogous to team sports. Whether you are out on the playing field or in the hospital saving lives, you have brought yourself to a higher level, have distanced from the everyday crowd, and are working alongside others who share a common purpose and goal. Like a softball team who whips the ball around the infield for a double play so they can get back on offense as soon as possible, the surgical team communicates, has each others best interest, and work in accordance because it’s the concern for the patient that matters, just as it’s the success of the softball team that matters. Success does not always mean the big win, nor does a successful surgery mean an impeccable one. In both cases, it’s about communication, patience, and working together. Frustration, jealousy, and selfishness suddenly become petty and fall to the wayside when a more important matter is on the line. That matter is the patient who has trusted the doctor with their life, or the team, who supports and trusts each other to overcome any obstacle that may occur in the game.
Getting the chance to observe general surgery, and be completely integrated into the hospital scene made me refocus on what I deem important, and what I could still work towards even when I can no longer play sports. People who work in the hospital, among many other sectors of careers, are very professional, focused, hard-working people, and as an athlete, that is one of the best possible environments to be in.
What I have gained from my experience is to use the quiet days of summer to research your interests and don’t be afraid to do something bold. Because of my experience in the hospital, I am so inspired to work hard and focus on what I love to do. I can see that everyday, people are out there working towards something important and are generally unconcerned and unburdened by social pressures, so to speak. We are all still so young in high school, so there is nothing to lose by sampling what could be a future passion. And as athletes, it’s a reminder to stay focused on your passion, because no one is really stopping you except yourself.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Building Your Athletic Resume

In high school you hear people all the time saying “Oh, that would be great on your resume”. For student athletes, it’s tough to add more activities outside of academics and your sport. However, making the effort to give back outside of these two commitments can really boost your resume as well as make you feel fulfilled and successful, not to mention help others! I would recommend committing to a volunteer group or club at
school that you feel passionate about. Does your church do mission trips that don’t interfere with your season? Are you passionate about the environment and your school has a Sustainability club? These activities bring balance into your schedule and give you an opportunity to give back to your community. Being involved in clubs or volunteer groups also shows that you are a leader outside of school and off the field.

Of course, as an athlete, it can be difficult to make time for countless other opportunities. When writing your resume think about the langauge you use and feel free to use athletic accomplishments to show your level of commitment, leadership, or hard work. You can include a section for Athletic Achievements or add to your Extra Curriculars by including things like “Newcomer of the year by the Sunset League in 2012″ or “Four time Player of the Week in the Horizon League”.  In your resume make sure to always use action verbs. For example:
Leadership Experience
Highland Park High School Women’s Lacrosse Team, Captain 2011-2012
  • Lead the varsity team to a State Championship
  • Dedicated 8 extra hours a week to plan team events and review goals with coaches
Building your resume can be challenging, highlighting your participation in events that  make you stand out and using the correct language will make your resume stronger. I encourage you to think about your volunteer and club opportunities this school year. Giving back is an important aspect in becoming an Athleader and continually learning and helping others. Your sport is a vehicle for success in and after college, and volunteering can be a great way to stand out to college coaches, administrators, and even potential employers.

Friday, August 16, 2013

NCAA Eligibility Blunders

If you are a potential NCAA DI or DII recruit, one of the most important things you need to be aware of is your NCAA eligibility status.
The NCAA uses a sliding scale that says, in order to be eligible to compete at the DI level, you need to have at least a 2.0 GPA and a cumulative 1010 SAT/86 ACT score (or a 2.3 GPA and a cumulative 900 SAT/ 75 ACT if you are a 2016 grad or younger). The DII level is a minimum 2.0 GPA and a cumulative 820 SAT/68 ACT for all grad classes.
But knowing your grades and test scores is the easy part…
Where most families run into trouble is with the core course requirements. Along with your minimum GPA and test scores, you are required to complete 16 NCAA approved core courses in your first 8 semesters of high school. Any class deemed ‘non-traditional’ by the NCAA because it fails to meet a specific set criteria will not count and can threaten your eligibility.
I’ve seen top talent student-athletes who were ineligible just because of a simple miscommunication.  Most recently, a men’s basketball player who was a senior in high school. He was registered with the NCAA Eligibility Center, had grades and test scores well above the minimum requirements and he had a scholarship offer to a DII program. He completed the core courses his high school offered like he was supposed to, but was unaware that some courses weren’t approved by the NCAA. Being a senior, he had no time left to make up any classes and was’t deemed an NCAA qualifier, so he had to turn down his offer to that DII program and start looking for an alternate program as a high school graduate.
When you register with the NCAA, your eligibility status will be ‘Pending’ until they receive your final transcripts and test scores after your senior year. Which brings me back to my original point, if you’re a potential DI or DII recruit, make sure you know your eligibility status. Even though your official eligibility status won’t be determined till after your senior year, there are some things you can do so you don’t get caught off guard.
Meet regularly with your high school guidance counselor even as an underclassman. Make sure your counselor knows your college goals so that he/she can make sure you’re where you need to be academically. When you register with the Eligibility Center your junior year, make sure you take advantage of all the resources they provide and contact them directly to go over your core courses. If for some reason there is a conflict, you want to give yourself time during your senior year to make up any core courses you’ll need to be eligible.
No matter which division level you’re looking to compete for, the recruiting process is full of surprises. Don’t get caught off guard!

Share This