If you're reading this, you probably grew up playing a sport or if you're like me, multiple sports. Whether it was pickup basketball at the park down the road, street hockey in the Bank of America parking lot, or playing on multiple travel teams for both basketball and softball, my life was always centered around sports. And honestly, I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.
The memories, experiences and life lessons I've gained over the years of competing and being a part of a team are irreplaceable. I made the decision to continue competing at the Division 1 level in college. From the beginning of high school, I knew I wanted to take my game to the next level and earn a scholarship and it was the best decision I ever made.
Now, collegiate sports aren't for everyone. If you're someone who is on the fence because of a lack of passion or commitment to your sport I wouldn't recommend you playing at the D1 level. Don't get me wrong, D2 and D3 are very competitive as well, but the time commitment is the most demanding at the Division 1 level and I know way too many players who weren't ALL IN and ended up transferring or even worse, miserable.
So be self aware and honest with yourself about what you really want. The goal shouldn't be to go to the biggest school in America so you can brag to your friends... It should be to go somewhere that you can contribute to a great culture and atmosphere, develop as a player and a person, and most importantly, when it is all said and done, feel grateful and fulfilled.
Anyway, enough of me rambling, here are 3 more tangible reasons you should play college sports! *This refers to Division 1*
1) FREE EDUCATION! Imagine not having to pay for school while playing the sport you love? Trust me your parents will be very happy if you get a scholarship and your future self will thank you when you see all your friends paying back student loan debt for the next 10 years!
2) BEATING THE ODDS! Did you know only 2% of high school athletes go on to compete at the Division 1 level? And only 7% play at any collegiate level... Think about how lucky you are too potentially be one of those people. Most kids will never play in another real game after their senior year of high school and you get 4 more years of it! Don't take it for granted, it goes QUICK!
3) TRAVEL! I cannot begin to tell you the number of different schools and states I have gotten the chance to visit and explore during my college basketball career. Every season we played games and tournaments all over the country. Freshman year we flew out to Notre Dame and Stanford, Junior year we played in Las Vegas and then got to fly down to Miami for the NCAA Tournament - and there were many more trips in between. Essentially, I was able to see so many different regions and cities, allowing me to meet people from all over the country, opening up future opportunities in places I would have never visited otherwise.
This list could honestly go on forever.... I'll be sure to write a Part 2 in the future, but remember to always do what makes you happy and go with your gut!