By Adam Juratovac
National Letter of Intent day is finally here. The first Wednesday of February is a day that every college football student-athlete will remember and make note of because its a red letter day for new commits and a sign of new blood coming into your old program. It's like the Reaping for fans, players, and coaches where we wait to see the next name that the fax machine spits out as a signee to our University. These names are the tributes and next selected to contribute to our football team and make bring glory to our University (district).
Former players are similar to the Victors as we watch the recruiting updates to see who is going to take our place and represent our community. The Victors have the responsibility to train, teach, and guide the new class of student-athletes as they prepare for college life, sports training, and eventually for competition. Us former athletes do so by creating an environment conducive to winning and success. But ultimately, it is up to the new Tributes to drive their own success and they do so with their work ethic and internal drive.
But luckily for us, our Tribute's aren't randomly selected. They volunteer as tributes to represent our alma mater. They rise to the occasion and "Katniss Everdeen" the situation by sending their letters of intent stating that they are up for the challenge. They are willing to put it all on the line to represent their newly adopted school. They stand up to represent their community and the university. They are accepting the responsibility and dangers associated with volunteering and doing so with poise. Little do they know.
The next four to five years of their lives are going to be filled with top-notch academics, stellar athletic competition, and an enormous amount of self-realization. They're going to form perceptions of what it was to be a student-athlete and those realities will be constantly shattered and replaced. They're going to see what it's like past the smoke and mirrors of intercollegiate athletics and understand what the real purpose is and how to maximize their value out of it. They're going to find that a college degree and post-athletic career skills is the ultimate signal of success. They're going to realize their influence on their teams, communities, and in the world of sports.
But it's up to them to see that change and to be the change. It's up to the Victor's to help them survive and excel. It's up to the Victors, Tributes, Game Creators, and Districts to help the Tributes Hunger Games. But like Katniss proved, it can be done.