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Remember when you were a much younger version of yourself, still in high school, and your entire objective every day was finding a lovely lady to enjoy your weekend with? Those were glorious days. (And if you're one of our lovely female subscribers, this doesn't apply to you because you were the ones breaking hearts and leaving us to pick up the pieces, so you can just enjoy the tale.)
If you were one of the lucky ones, you had multiple ladies who wanted to spend time with you too. Most of us only heard folklore stories of what it was like to have multiple beautiful women chasing after you. But like the bus driver on Billy Madison, we all imagined what that would be like.
In my head, it was a glorious spectacle. The ideas that I had conjured up in my mind about how great it would be to have girls begging to hang out with me were fantastic. I would have been the coolest dude in school. That was the dream. There were no downsides to the dream. It was THE dream.
When we all envisioned this dream dating scenario, we tend to ignore the reality of the situation. Unless you're a heartless monster, feelings emerge and you start to realize that all of these lovely ladies who want to hang out with you are people, and they are great. Even if one of them emerges as the greatest for you, you still have to break that news to the others.
And that's hard to do.
It's because of this dream scenario that the TV show The Bachelor exists. We all (yes, all... even you) love to watch a man go through the painstaking ordeal of breaking a bunch of hearts in the name of love. We love the drama. We love the emotion. We love it all. We love to watch the suffering of others. We're psychotic like that.
These dream scenarios do involve feelings and those feelings can be difficult to reconcile and to manage.
At the end of the day, people are people. And it hurts to let people down. It's hard to do. Humans have an inherent disdain for disappointing others.
This, ladies and and gentlement, is our segue into the part of college football (and every sport) recruiting that we don't talk about: The breakups.
Being recruiting is AWESOME!
Being heavily recruited is AWESOMER!
It really is a dream come true for the players that go through the process. At the end of it all, they sign with the school they picked and that they believe will help them achieve all of their football goals.
It's great. And those of us on the outside of it are jealous. What an awesome process and awesome reward.
BUT IT IS REALLY HARD...
We don't talk much about the difficulty that comes with the recruiting process. Being wined and dined is awesome, but the relationship you are forming throughout the wining and dining process are very real. In the end, you can only sign with one school.
So, if you're a high-level football player who decides to give five schools a fair, honest look, then you are breaking up with four schools before you sign with the fifth.
You are telling four coaches who have invested countless hours and effort into forming a relationship with you. These coaches have met your coaches, your teammates, your siblings, and your parents. These coaches have been to your home and had dinner with you. The relationship that you have with these coaches is very, very strong.
That breakup conversation is not a fun one.
It's especially un-fun when you're tired and exhausted.
Last week, I was in Las Vegas for a work trip to some conference. I stayed in a suite at my favorite resort in Vegas. I had seemingly no budget for food or anything else. I hit on my first five or six sports bets in a row (what a ride that was) and started the week by punshing the sports books.
My family was gone. I got a break from work, a break from kids, a break from all of my responsibilities - just had to attend a conference.
Life was good and it was fun.... for about 24 hours.
But then I got tired. I missed my regular life with my family. I missed my regular, less-fancy bed. I missed my cheap food that I'd eat around the table with my family. I was exhausted, even if I wasn't really doing anything tiring.
Such is the life for a recruit. The visits, the phone calls, the travelling, the texts, all the love from fans on social media and everywhere else you go... it's cool! But, it's also exhausting.
And after months of that exhausting process, kids are expected to go immediately into a breakup conversation with a coach that they have been friends with for years.
Oh, and after they make that decision, their social media is effectively a war zone or scorned fans who think they made a stupid decision and happy fans who think they made the only right decision.
Recruiting is tiring. Recruiting is hard. These kids are kids. For most of them, this is the most grown up and mature decision that they have ever had to make. They're 17 years old and being told to make a decision that will impact the rest of their lives.
That's not an easy task.
BYU is currently waiting on the decisions of a handful of players who have officially visited over the last several weeks. Regardless of what happens, these kids are wrapping up a triathlon of recruiting. They are tired and exhausted. They are coming out of difficult and emotional breakups. Many of them are struggling with the decisions.
To be recruited is an awesome problem to have, but don't sleep on the fact that it can be challenging. Don't underappreciate the work that these kids have to do to come to a decision.
It's not easy and most of us would struggle with it.
So, be patient, BYU fans. Let these kids go through their process and be ready to support them in whatever decisions they decide to make - even if you don't care about them once they join your rival school.