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Old 02-01-2013, 07:43 AM   #29
drfrankfree
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 18
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I have to weigh in on this. As far as boys go,I can unequivolcally tell you that if you are looking for any return on your investment from a tuition perspective, then you will most likely be disappointed. Most boys, even 4* star boys will get little to no tennis money at the fully funded programs. There are more than enough 5*s and foreigners to take up the big tennis money. At smaller D1 programs, some D2 and NAIA programs, and occasionally JUCO programs there is more money available. However, you will most likely NEVER see a financial return worth crowing about.
However, it is so much more than that. My son is winding down his junior career. He has played since he was 10 years old. At 14 he decided he would like to get serious about training and traveling. He enrolled in a distance learning program for high school and the journey began. Over the past 4 years, I have spent nearly $70,000 on lessons, clinics, equipment, clothes, hotels, tournament fees, food, gas and God knows what else. I have sacrificed countless weekends to travel to such exotic places as Greenville MS, Taylors SC, Huntsville AL, and Rome GA. I have sat on metal folding chairs in the wind and cold. There have been rain delays, unbearable August heat waves, and who knows how many Subway sandwiches. And the end result......
My son will attend an out of state university and play upper level Division 3 tennis. That's right D3. No tennis money. None. He had several lower level D1 and D2 coaches that really wanted him and some would have even given some tennis money. But it just wasnt the right fit at those places. In the end, he had to make his own choice about where was the best fit for him. I say that because it's very easy for parents and players alike to become so fixated on making D1 that they lose sight of the big picture. There is no glory in being the 14th guy on a 14 man roster just so you can say you play at "State U". Just as it makes no sense to go to some middle of nowhere directional school that just happens to be the 7th best team in the conference just so you can say you play D1. My son has friends who have done both and these situations will inevitably lead to burnout. Remember, college is an experience. It's not just books and essays. It is about making friendships, meeting contacts, and developing into a productive member of our society.
So what do I have to show for all of this time, money, and effort? More than I could have ever imagined. The memories and experiences I have made with my child over the past 4 years have been the single greatest blessing of my adult life. We have shared the incredible highs of victory and the tearful hugs of defeat. The lessons that he has learned over this time have been invaluable to his development. Independence, discipline, and organization are all skills that will serve him well in his future endeavours. Watching him handle adversity and occaisional disagreements with others have been a perfect training ground for life and offered many teachable moments. He has matured into not only a great player but a great human being. That, at least to me, is worth every penny.
In closing, it CANNOT be just about a scholarship or other financial reward. To minimize the experience to just that shortchanges the incredible journey that tennis can lead us on and all of the other wonderful things it can offer outside the lines.
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