by Kent Sterling
Choosing a college is a very big deal for the kid making the decision.
When deciding which college to attend, you aren’t just picking a school. The town where the college is located will become a special place – the first place where a young man or woman begins to think like an adult.
There are thousands of colleges across America where work ethic can be developed and will be rewarded, where new friends can be found, and where mistakes can be made without terrible consequences (for most). Picking one can be stressful.
Eron Gordon is a basketball player with scholarship offers from some of the best programs in America. He is ranked among the top 100 players in the class of 2016, and tweeted Tuesday that he would announce his college decision this Saturday at 12p at the Jewish Community Center on the north side of Indianapolis.
Then on Wednesday, Gordon tweeted the announcement would be delayed indefinitely as he needs more time to gather the information necessary to make the right call. Actually, what he tweeted was, “I’ve decided to postpone the College Commitment would like explore my college visits.”
Nothing wrong with anything in Gordon’s process so far, minus the tweet that alerted everyone to the announcement in the first place.
How Gordon or any other high school senior makes this crucial decision is family business. There are a dozen different factors, but it’s a subjective assessment of comfort that matters most – or should. Selecting a new hometown requires reflection.
What it does not require is the silly and self-indulgent pageantry of a staged announcement with cameras, media, and the creepy gadflies who routinely show up for these things.
Where Gordon goes to college shouldn’t matter any more to people outside his family and friends than any other high school senior, and it certainly does not require Gordon sitting behind a table behind a selection of hats bearing the logos of the finalists.
It’s not easy for a high school senior to call the coaches who have been recruiting him to tell them he has chosen another suitor, but that’s what adults do. It’s not easy to put together a plan that allows a high school senior to make an informed choice as to where he or she will attend school and play a sport, but that’s what adults do.
What adults should never do is unnecessarily call attention to these decisions as though they are triumphant moments worthy of civic celebration and blanket media coverage.
Gordon needs to gather information through visits – as he plans – sit with his family – as he will – discuss the ramifications of choosing each school, and pick the place and coach that best fits his academic and athletic goals and comfort level. Then, he needs to make some calls to inform the parties involved as to the results of that process.
After that, he should go to bed and get a good night’s sleep.
Nowhere in that timeline is there a mass media availability at the JCC, an idiotic hat dance, or the potential for the kind of self-congratulatory idiocy that still tarnishes LeBron James’ otherwise stellar image.
Where Gordon goes, or anyone else for that matter, is none of our business. Just because the media machine that swirls around collegiate recruiting demands to be fed, kids like Gordon and their families decide ceremonies are a just and decent end to the process. That’s the tail wagging the dog.
Now Gordon can now step back, take a deep breath, and do it the right way – without the lights, cameras, and gadflies.