“At that point, the coaches still couldn’t talk to her,” Mrs. Jones explains, “so they would send an email to her club coach and ask to have Mary call. It really depends on what kind of kid you have, but Mary is just shy. She was absolutely mortified about the idea of having to call the coach, so she didn’t.
“Calling an adult she doesn’t know…we had to force her to make these phone calls. Then I told her I would be on the phone with her,” Mrs. Jones explains, “because she wasn’t going to do it by herself. In fact, I got good reception from most of those coaches. This child was only 15 years old! In fact, a couple of coaches even expressed that they appreciated [the fact that I was also on the phone] because it is difficult for them, too. Everything is very awkward at this stage.”
Mrs. Jones goes on to explain that at this point, coaches were asking the same questions about what Mary wanted to major while in college, or what she wanted from a college and the athletic experience. Often times it was the proverbial sound of crickets and that’s it on Mary’s end.
“Some kids have the gift of knowing all that stuff early on, but I certainly didn’t ––and none of my kids do,” Mrs. Jones states.
The phone calls continued and some unofficial visits were planned. At this point, finding a weekend (or just a little chunk of time) whereby Mary was not playing in a club tournament was nearly impossible. Then, the first college gave her an offer in March…over the phone.
“That was totally crazy!” Mrs. Jones admits.
“But then they were telling us that they wanted to know [her answer] by May!”
Of course, there were still other colleges that were interested and requesting unofficial visits and calls, and Mrs. Jones says it was an uphill battle trying to get Mary to decide where she wanted to go visit…if at all. But the most frustrating part of the entire scenario was not just the amount of time it took for it all, but the cost!
“I would think a lot of kids probably can’t [make a lot of unofficial visits]. Fortunately, we were able to do it. [For example], one of the schools was in Florida and we live [in the Southeast, but several states away]. We had to buy plane tickets for $400 apiece and had to pay for lodging and meals while we were there. I don’t know what happens to the kids whose parents cannot afford it. The college ends up paying for nothing.
“We will have actually bought her college education by the time this is all over,” Mrs. Jones laughs.