"I wanted to be rich and I wanted to play professionally."
Updated: Dec 2, 2021
The Dreams of Becoming a College Athlete
Zedralyn Butler December 01, 2021
Dreams and desires start with imagination; Imagining what life would be like based off an observation as a young child. I remember growing up watching sports and "practicing" what I saw against my older cousin and younger brother. And then, the most famous dream of a lot of little children who grow up in culturally diverse community: I wanted to be rich and I wanted to play professionally. When I look back on this, I skipped the desire to play basketball in high school and college. Well, we watched more professional sports than college sports. We did not attend any high school games. Talk about a leap of faith and an abundance of invisible talent! Yet, I was learning the game. As I grew older, my desire shifted. I dreamt of playing in college this time. Even though the WNBA came in the 90s, my desire was to play professionally overseas instead. But first, let's get to college! We can all agree that recruiting can be easy for some and harder for most. Out of 5 high school sports (boys and girls basketball, football, hockey and baseball), only 7% of those athletes will compete in college. So for those who are trying to get in, do you really want to get in? Define talent. Because that is exactly what college coaches are doing - defining their version of talent. In addition, they are also seeking to fill in spaces that are needed to make their teams whole. So now, you have "The Need for Talent." I was just lucky. I did not have a trainer. I NEVER reached out to coaches. I NEVER responded to correspondences. By my senior year in high school, the letters stopped coming. More so, my parents were unfamiliar with the recruiting process. Be that as it may, I signed with a nationally ranked junior college on the D1 level and transferred to a successful D1 program upon completion of JUCO. Again, I was just lucky considering all the effort that is being put into be noticed today by coaches. But what does it take to get there? A LOT of sacrificing! I did not go out with friends on the weekend. As a matter of fact, I was in another state playing in a tournament or jamboree. After school, a couple of my teammates/classmates drove 30 minutes away for AAU practice at least twice a week. So I had to manage school work and exhaustion. Instead of watching TV after school on the days I did not have practice, I was outside with my basketball, shooting on top of the roof aiming for the plumbing vent, practicing on passing against the bricks of the home. Or in my father's neighborhood, my cousin Marcus and I determined in our 1-on-1 games that going passed the stop sign on one end and passed a tree stump on the other end was equivalent to scoring. We played in the streets, so going in the grass was out of bounds. Our resources were limited (very) but that did not stop me from crafting my talent. My mother moved to a neighborhood where there were barely any kids to play with and none of them looked like me, let alone athletic. A good friend of mine, Eddie, and his family suddenly moved down the street and they had a basketball goal! And every day, Eddie walked to my house and asked my mother if I could come play basketball. My standard was to never turn down an opportunity that would make me great. The 3D Effect to increasing your chances in the 7% is determination, dedication, and discipline. Set individual and sensible goals. Dedicate yourself even if you do not have the same resources as others. Lastly, stick with it and remain focused. When doing these things, you are simultaneously considered "coachable." You see, coaches talk all of the time. It wasn't AAU that got me to a nationally ranked team. It was my high school coach.