Commentary: Signing day about much more than putting pen to paper

High School
Colorado

Posted On: 11/9/16 12:18 PM

We were certainly excited 18 months ago when we began preparations to launch Prep Hoops Colorado. We were eager to help in some small way to help provide exposure for so many talented players in the state who were being overlooked.

We couldn’t have imagined just how much of an honor it would be to become some small part of a basketball community in this state that is truly special.

As players like Colbey Ross (Pepperdine), D’Shawn Schwartz (Colorado), Kayden Sund (Chadron State), Matteo Busnardo (Concordia), Elijah Blake (Denver) and many others put their pens to paper today, making the dream of a college future official, we couldn’t help but think of all the hard work these young men have put into that dream.

There is natural talent possessed by all these players — and all those who have the same special moment on the horizon — certainly played a major role in them reaching this stage. But this group knows as well as any that their talent can only go so far. It has to be nurtured, strengthened, cherished. No one signing today got there without an immense amount of work put in. It’s a lesson for those striving to reach the same stage. The real work is done when nobody is looking. When the scoreboard is turned off, most everyone else has gone home and there is no one to pass along credit for the efforts you’re making to improve your game.

That’s what has continued to impress me about so many players in a state not known as a basketball hotbed. Colorado players simply have to work harder than those in other players to earn the same respect and recognition. That’s just the reality, and it’s one the players signing today have not only embraced, but have also thrived on.

Of course, none of these young mens got to the pen-to-paper stage by themselves. One of the most rewarding parts of running Prep Hoops Colorado is seeing, on a day-to-day, around-the-clock basis, just how much this state’s basketball community cares. And they are pulling on the same rope, striving to help kids even if they don’t have a certain logo on their uniforms. We see club coaches who sacrifice so much time — not to mention their own resources — in order to help give kids a leg up, a chance to follow their dreams. It is often thankless work that goes unnoticed. We notice and we thank you.

The same can be said for the high school coaches who play such a pivotal role in the lives of their players, offering life lessons that extend so far beyond the basketball court. Many players remember forever the impacts made on them by their high school coaches, making it such an important and honorable title.

And then there are the parents and families, who feel every joy and frustration, every triumph and heartbreak, every joy and sorrow, on their child’s journey toward a dream. The investment the families make — both monetary and otherwise — has propped up so many kids in this community and we are so lucky to see that every day.

So this is a day of celebration for so many who have worked hard and sacrificed so much in more ways than we can accurately describe. It’s why a day like this brings so much joy, because it came at the end of such a journey.

So cherish every movement of that pen across that piece of paper, young fellas. It represents so much.