Monday, September 5, 2011

If You Are Not Over The Top, You Will Be Under The Radar

RT Staff Note: This is a rewind from a few years ago.

I was chatting with a parent at a Labor Day Weekend party about our sons baseball schedules the past several years. We talked about the hundreds of games, the travel, the cost and the commitment it takes to play at the next level. He gave me a look like I was from another planet. So I asked him, "You have this incredulous look on your face. You think I'm over the top don't you"?

He paused for a moment and said. "No, it just hit me what it's going to take for my son (an 11 year old) to play at that level."

We also talked about the excitement and high ratings of this years CWS in Omaha. I reminded him that all of those players that were in the College Baseball World Series have what many not familiar with our world would call "over the top parents". And every day, those players are extremely thankful that their parents had the vision, patience, dedication and extra money in the cookie jar to help them realize that dream of playing Next Level Baseball.

We touched upon Olympic athletes too. The one message that has been loud and clear during any past Olympics was that each and every athlete at those events had an "Over The Top" work ethic and were supported by parents that knew what it took to succeed at that level. We all know how dedicated Michael Phelps mom had been. But, the countless of other athletes from track and field, softball, volleyball, fencing, rowing, tennis and even some sports I had never heard of before, had that same support group at home.

These parents are all very aware of the sacrifices it takes to play at a higher level and to succeed as an elite athlete. Is it over the top? Well, since the Olympics in Beijing were the most watched in Olympic history, I think the world has spoken that they at least appreciate the results they saw from the athletes. Most people are just unaware of the road it takes to get there.

That's why the parent I was talking to at the party had that look on his face. He had never put an elite athletes preparation and schedule into perspective before. He began the conversation by asking about my son who is competing at the collegiate level and the year round commitment he spent on reaching that goal was way more than he thought it would be. But, he now realizes that all Next Level athletes are elite athletes. They must compete with and against other elite athletes, whether it's in their region, conference, NCAA Division or on the world stage. The hard work to get to any next level requires a special desire and attitude, incredible work ethic, a wad of mom and dads money and of course, a good dose of talent helps too.

Sports parents are no different than the parent that pays for extra educational tutoring for their child, or music, dance and art lessons. Thank goodness for parents that care enough for their children to want to give them more opportunities to succeed.

So, if you have a son that wants to play next level baseball, both of you need to start thinking a bit over the top, out of the box and into the next level of your previous routines. That's what college coaches are looking for and it's the only thing that will make your son that elite athlete that will be in their radar not under it.

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