Photo illustration by Hanna Meyers.
You inform your travel team coach of your decision. As he wishes you the best of luck on your high school team, you can hear the disappointment in his voice. “You were my star player,” he said. Your dad was equally discouraged, and during the whole ride home from your last day of travel team practice, he repeatedly asked what came over you.
You, on the other hand, are excited to get the chance to play your favorite sport alongside your classmates — something you’ve never done before. And now that you’re no longer playing travel ball, your schedule finally frees up, and you’re able to hang out with your friends more often.
The spring semester arrives. You were finally able to convince your dad to help you prepare for team tryouts, and you’ve been practicing harder than you’ve ever been. And it pays off — not only do you make the varsity team, but your new coach tells you you’re batting cleanup. He has big expectations for you on the team, and he’s excited to see what you can do.
You still dream of playing pro ball, but you know that your chances are now lower because you won’t get the same exposure to recruiters as you did at travel ball tournaments. Your dad agrees to sign you up for baseball training workshops and performance evaluations where recruiters can attend and observe all the prospects.
One day, your dad approaches you and reminds you about the upcoming regional tournament your high school team entered, but you look at your schedule and notice that’s the same weekend of the major music festival that you and your friends were really hoping to attend together. You’re torn because your coach expects you to play in the tournament and you don’t want to hurt your chances of being benched, but you don’t want to disappoint your friends and back out at the last minute.