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The call will come

Posted: August 12, 2014 - 12:03am

Rest assured, the call will come.

It happens every year, and it happens multiple times.

Sometimes, I get many calls about one athlete. Other times, I get multiple calls about various athletes.

Ever since I have written about sports, a college coach invariably calls to inquire about an athlete.

Calls have come from community colleges, four-year universities, obscure campuses and those that have so many brand names attached I’m surprised they have an interest in a local youth.

But the calls come regardless.

And why not?

Why would I be any different from a teacher, coach or parent?

In my opinion, I am more honest. My observations are unbiased.

I have no confidentiality clauses and sometimes I am privy to information others do not see.

I have nothing to gain or lose if a young man or woman succeeds or doesn’t in athletics and life after high school.

My background in physical fitness and sports, my interactions with the athletes, my viewing the athletes’ interactions with their environment, my prowls along the sidelines, hash marks, pool decks, ski slopes, diamonds, turfs, grasses and trails — all these things give me a perspective that college recruiters appreciate. And they do.

Last year, I counted questions about 21 different athletes.

Did what I say make a difference where they ended up? I don’t know.

Sometimes I get callbacks, sometimes I don’t. But I always get a thank you.

Sometimes, I get a call saying I was way off base about so-and-so, that he or she was not all I had said.

Sometimes that is in a good way, sometimes not.

I love it when I am right about our athletes’ character traits and they prosper at the next level. I also love it when the character flaws I pointed out did not come to pass and the next level has been a good adjustment.

I don’t blow smoke up some recruiter’s rear end if they’re responsible for suggesting to a head coach what a “find” our little Jane or Johnny is. I also don’t overhype a coach’s expectations when he will be accountable for a university program’s bottom line.

They care little about my take on stats, titles or wins and losses. They can get that almost anywhere. Heck, they can send someone to see that.

They ask about other things: interactions with teammates, the community, those types of things.

“Does he kick small dogs and bite children?” they ask.

“Does she sell herself on the street for beer money?” they inquire.

“Are they involved in hazing or bullying?” they question.

OK, some of those questions aren’t asked.

The one constant is that I have always responded to their interest.

I care about my credibility and your athlete’s character.

Believe me, the call will come.

It always does.

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