This summer, Reagan competed in a basketball summer league that invited many of our area’s private high school coaches to watch games between some of the best upcoming-8th graders in the area.
When he initially tried out and joined his summer league team, we were excited for him to be with such an amazing group of competitors, as playing with kids who are better can make you better. In this league, he has played with and against some amazing players, some of whom are actually one to two years older having been been ‘reclassified‘ to their current grade (really not that uncommon, it seems). In spite of spotty playing time, he’s very much benefited from being on a team that plays a different style of ball than he’s used to, and he’s grown from it tremendously. Overall, this was a good experience from a playing perspective.
But with the league’s focus on private school basketball recruitment, we’ve also forayed into the discussion about whether attending a private school would be of benefit to Reagan. Being seen by the private high school coaches was a huge draw for many of the boys in this league and their parents, and it was hard not to get caught up in the frenzy and pride of it all.
There are so many things to think through and topics to parse out from this experience, and a wide variety of opinions from youth coaches, other parents, and kids. Like,
- What is the benefit of a private high school education vs. our local public schools?
- Do private schools offer a better sports experience than our local public schools?
- If my son desires to play college sports, will playing for a private school team give him an advantage?
- If my son attends a private school, what affect will it have on our family’s finances and lifestyle?
- From a philosophical perspective, is it beneficial for my not-yet-matured son and us, his parents, to be involved in such a recruitment process a year out from him actually attending these schools given all the physical/mental/spiritual growth that happens during this year of adolescence?
- How do any of these decisions benefit my child and our family in the Grand Scheme of Life?
Reagan, as any sports-crazed competitive kid might, likes the mystical idea of being recruited to play for a private high school. At 13, it’s almost as if these boys are “playing dress up” for the college recruitment process four years early. Reagan hasn’t received much attention from private school coaches at this point as he didn’t get a lot of playing time on this new-to-him summer team, and we haven’t pursued any of these schools either. But we want to be proactive in thinking through the private vs. public school decision before the fall when his regular club team gears up.
I really don’t have any answers to these questions, but I do have my leanings. My husband and I are both products of public schools, which gave us the educational foundation to be successful academically in college. We both also played Division I sports as well and are living proof that attending a private school is not the only path to success in academics, sports, and life. While my son is quick to point to the extremely successful college and NBA stars that have attended some of these private schools, I’m not sure we can say that they wouldn’t have been successful anyway if they had attended different schools. It’s an interesting discussion.
So, I’m taking a deep breath and continuing to talk to other parents, coaches, and friends. There will be more discussions and posts as we navigate this uncharted-for-us water. And I’m trying to keep perspective that there is life before, during, and after basketball.