“Crossing the Finish Line”
The Verbal Commitment
“It’s show time.” We’ve heard the phrase before, but it doesn’t truly hit home until we find ourselves face to face with a worthy challenge that is desperately begging us to take the baton and run. Some of us face these challenges as athletes, while others experience the mystery of the unknown in our careers, family relationships, spiritual commitments and the list goes on.
The college recruiting process should be no less important, nor should we be any less passionate about approaching one of the most important life decisions our children will ever make. In many cases our children bring a “special talent” to the college admissions table that can make the difference between having a good college experience and one that is life changing. For some athletes, the process is very simple… They are the blue chip athletes that every coach is recruiting. Yet, for the majority of prospects, the recruiting road can be long, daunting, confusing and frustrating, thus creating an inner game of perpetual “catch-up.”
I have learned that when prospects and families are choosing between schools, the well-informed individuals reached their decision with relative ease. The decision was based not only on the information they gathered and the commitment to prepare thoroughly, but on a feeling of self-confidence that developed naturally after putting a well-designed plan into action.
When you are ready to run your race… When it is “show time,” do you see yourself struggling in at the back of the pack, or can you envision yourself as the first that breaks the tape? In very simple terms, our children get one “whack” in navigating the college quest and they deserve every opportunity to swing for the seats.
I’ve been working with Victoria Maxon and the Maxon Family over the past two years and I spoke with her in our final interview about “Crossing the Finish Line”.
Kovic: Well Victoria any good news to tell me since we last met during your April 2008 LAX road trip?
Victoria: Yes, I verbally committed to Lafayette College after completing my official visit on September 6th.
Kovic: Congratulations, how do you feel about the whole recruiting process now?
Victoria: I’m glad it’s over. It was a very stressful process but I reached my goal by committing to a great school with strong academics and a well established D1 lacrosse program. I picked the school for all the right reasons. (We both picked each other.)
Kovic: What are “all the right reason” and why are they important?
Victoria: First of all you need to visit the school and walk the campus. I did this on my official visit. The assistant coach met me at the airport after my flight from Seattle and we had a great talk on the way to the campus. I stayed with a friend of mine from our national team in the dorm over the weekend. She is currently a freshman and a member of the lacrosse team. I attended two classes in my major with another student and met with an advisor. I also went to a soccer game that night. It was a full agenda in two days. The school had everything I wanted. It just felt right. I then met the coaches for breakfast the next morning and I was ready to commit. The chemistry was there. I applied what is called the “broken leg theory”.
Kovic: Ouch…Can you explain the “broken leg theory”?
Victoria: If you get hurt or injured and can’t play lacrosse you need to make sure you are at the right school academically. I’ve talked to girls who picked the school because of their lacrosse program only, got injured and were very disappointed that they didn’t like the school and transferred out.
Kovic: What was it like being recruited from Washington State?
Victoria: Compared to New York or Maryland it was not easy. As you know most coaches don’t stop by Seattle to recruit lacrosse players. During the summer at the end of my junior year I traveled 15,000 miles, attended 4 major lacrosse tournaments and 2 college lax camps. Most of these venues were located on the east coast. This is the price you need to pay if you want to get noticed and then recruited. Most coaches will not contact you unless they see you play at least two or three times.
Kovic: How important is the July 1st date when coaches can call you for the first time after your junior year?
Victoria: It’s everything. Believe me you want the phone to ring. It’s nerve racking. I was very fortunate to be contacted by five coaches during that week. I kept in contact with my top choices during the past two years and let them know what tournaments I was going to and if they would be attending. Most of them emailed me back and let me know that they would be watching me. All my hard work paid off on July 1st.
Kovic: What was the main goal during the phone calls?
Victoria: This is when you move the relationship to the next level. They start to do an academic preread. You need to send them your transcripts, SAT, ACT, AP scores and exams. They start talking about an official visit and where you would “fit in”. You need to ask questions about athletic and academic scholarships. This is also a good time to have your club or high school coach get in touch with them for a reference. You’re not there yet but you are in a short list or pool of recruits. You also need to have options just as the coaches do. Do not put all your eggs all in one basket as the saying goes.
Kovic: What happed in August?
Victoria: You are working on your short list and start looking at official visits dates for September/October. You might also be calling a coach to tell them that their school is not the right fit for you. It’s a balancing act. The coaches are probing you and you are doing the same. It kind of works it way to a rightful conclusion. Always be honest with a coach.
Kovic: How was the official visit experience?
Victoria: I was invited to take three official visits to my top schools and it was quite an experience. I can confidently say that the fall visits, while school was in session, solidified my decision to attend Lafayette. I was able to get a true “inside look” at the campuses where I attended classes, spoke individually with the coaches, but most importantly, I spent quality time with the team. There is a lot you can learn about people when you spend two days together and I realized that the good, bad and everything in between comes out when you are on a campus visit. I won’t go into detail, but my visit to Lafayette was perfect and I realized in my heart that this was the right match for me.
Kovic: Now that you have crossed the finish line how do you feel?
Victoria: First of all Coach Kovic, I wanted to thank you for all of the great advice you gave me over the past two years. You were always there when I needed to talk to someone about my options and guide me to the next steps. This was not an easy road to travel especially being a 16 year old talking to coaches twice my age. By the way I’m walking on cloud 9. I guess it won’t hit me until I see my uniform hanging in the locker room and report to practice the first day. I’m glad it’s over and I can concentrate on my senior year. It’s so strange because I still have one more season of high school lacrosse and I won’t start Lafayette until a year from now. What was really cool was as soon as I arrived back home in Seattle the Lafayette lacrosse team had invited me to join them on Facebook. I knew I had made it.
Kovic: Any last words now that you are a member of Lafayette’s D1 lacrosse program?
Victoria: Only two….GO LEOPARDS!
The Leopards are the official mascot of Lafayette College. Victoria Maxon (Bothell, Washington) was accepted under the Early Decision Program on December 9th. She is a current senior at Holy Names Academy and will enter Lafayette in the fall of 2009. The Lafayette Leopards play in the Patriot League which includes: American, Bucknell, Colgate, Holy Cross, Lehigh and Navy.
Tom Kovic is the director of Victory Collegiate Consulting where he provides individual family advisement and educational seminar on preparing for the college athletics recruiting process. Visit www.victoryrecruiting.com for further information.