The decision of what level to compete in any sport is rarely up to the athlete. Some kids feel pressured to go Division I, earn a scholarship, and chase professional dreams. Others aren’t talented enough to have any other choice than Division III. But in sports like lacrosse, where teams have less-than a full roster of full rides to give out, players who talented enough are given that choice. What they do with that opportunity, however, is a different story all together.
Jack McDermott had the opportunity and the talent to play Division I lacrosse but chose to go to Tufts because of the total college experience -socially, academically, athletically – instead of the Division I route. One quote that jumped out to me in McDermott’s piece on Medium.com was this.
So while evaluating the opportunity to play college lacrosse, take it for what it is: an opportunity. The recruiting game is changing, but your goal to find the right college fit shouldn’t.
This is the part of the equation that can sometimes get lost on recruits in any sport. When my college experience was over, I looked back on it knowing that I likely could have suited up, either in lacrosse or basketball, for a handful of schools besides the one I chose. But how would that have impacted my experience? Would I have made quality of friends I made during my time at Springfield College? Would I have had the formative experiences that turned me into the person I am today? Would I have liked the school as much if I had to give up the game at some point?
The answer to all of those things is simple: No. Springfield was the right place for me and Tufts has proven to be the right place for McDermott. He has started his own business creating mobile apps for speech therapy, he serves on Tufts’ Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, and when he graduates he will be part of an alumni network that will help him immeasurably for the rest of his life.
Weigh those things the next time you find yourself wondering aloud how a fantastic player ended up at Tufts or Nazareth or Stevens. Those players made a decision based on a campus tour, maybe an academic program, or possibly some kind of family history. Maybe it was geographical. But ultimately, the decision to play Division III was their’s to make and, for the most part, they rarely find themselves regretting it.