The (Social) Life of a Recruit on NSD

   5:57 a.m. flashes at him from a menacing sounding alarm clock. The annoyance is less from the blaring buzz going on beside him and more of having yet another sleepless night. Ten more minutes of staring at the ceiling when a knock at the door, “You up? Excited?” his mom asks with playful anticipation. He shuffles without word to show he’s up yet would rather not respond.
Of course I’m excited. I’ve been trying to make this decision since that first offer Sophomore year. With the knot growing tighter in his stomach he gets up and ready for one of the biggest days of his life so far.
 
   A muted ESPN's SportCenter with a scrolling ticker: It’s NSD. Who will end up on top this year? shows abruptly after turning on the TV. An analyst is in the background at one of the major football programs reporting live while waiting on the #1 recruit in the country.
 
Silently awaiting him the notification light stays blinking on his phone. With a quick swipe to unlock he reveals 187 new notifications.
 
Holy Shit. These people go nuts about this stuff. I’ve been getting a lot of these lately but never this much
 
103 new Facebook notifications
84 new Twitter Interactions.
 
After sifting through a majority of them containing a like or RT of a redistributed picture from the All-American Game come the friend requests and follows by people whose degree of separation is probably 5th or 6th in line. Finally he gets down to a few actual interactions.
 
@GoodGuyAnalyst: A big day for many, good luck to all these young men wherever they end up.
 
@BeatWriterGuy:   Many big names today. None bigger than #2 recruit in-state and #1 at his position nationally @bigrecruit . #school1 #school2
 
The knot from earlier wanes as his excitement to get this finally over with takes over. 
 
@fanofschool1fan: Wooooooooo It’s NSD! Can’t wait for @bigrecruit to kill it with us this year! You’re my boi #teamdestroyshit
 
@fanoschool2fan: So nervous to see if @bigrecruit picks us today! Getting him alone should lock up the state for us.
 
@randomassfan: Hey! Check your DM ;)
 
“What thaaa…hell is that?” he says aloud while squinting toward the darkened picture of something he’d rather not know the answer to making him delete it as fast as it appeared. Crap, I’m late. Who sends that kind of stuff?
 
   The bleachers in the gym were pulled out only on one side. As he entered the principal was trying to usher family and friends to the higher ranks. A table was cleared nearby save for a single chair and microphone with wire extending to the entrance he just came through.
 
 I didn’t ask for all of this. At least it’s during class though. God, I hope I made the right choice…… I know I did.
 
The voice on the other line though disappointed still wished him the best of luck and reminded him, “It’s your choice, son. Do what’s right for you.” The conversation was short but he appreciated the sincerity from a man he grew to respect while on the phone the night before. He was the only other he told before today.
 
    A cameraman from a local feed pans to the smiling face in center view with all those in attendance lining the bleachers behind him. The backpack unzips easily as he reaches down to reveal the evidence of his final decision. The flimsy cap with school 2’s logo adorned slips effortlessly onto his head.
 
The gymnasium erupts.
 
No one really cared which hat he chose. Either way, it is a free education that will go toward a potentially brighter future for one of theirs; a home grown.
 
This should be all of us. Instead we think our investment in the sport, OUR TEAM, rivals that of someone’s willingness to come to our school. When they choose us we exhale in their excitement. When not, we immediately downplay the effort they’ll exhibit on field in ensuing years. It’s in our nature to rationalize these things.
 
Nonetheless, some take too little time between thought and action when trying to make sense of a teenager choosing another over their beloved institution. Being that fewer filters exist between thought and speak than thought and tweet many are prone to unabashedly write out exactly what they’re thinking. When in less than 140 characters someone depicts how piss drunk they are to the masses that’s one thing. Telling a 17-19 year old kid he’s a piece of shit is another.
 
We all want the best. It’s something fun to get excited for when a whole other season looms in the distance. However, we were all taught the golden rule. It may have lost its luster since grade school. Yet the message is still clear.
 
Enjoy tomorrow and let these guys enjoy it too. Hokies Respect.

DISCLAIMER: Blog posts may not have been written or edited by The Key Play staff.

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