What Time Does The Cincinnati Bengals Play Football Today Raising a Jock

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Raising a Jock

Do you remember the original ‘Friday Night Lights’? High school football back in the days…those cold fall football games when we were in school? Popcorn, cheerleaders, the biggest guys wandering around with shoulder pads, giant helmets and happy if muddy smiles. Win or lose, we would always meet after the game for burgers and our carefree high school life continued. Granted, high school sports in the Midwest were a little more frozen than here in Florida, but it’s still basically the same.

Fast forward to 2009 in Florida high school football style. Those carefree memories are laughable news for today’s high schoolers. Playing football today is a very serious and often expensive business for thousands of young athletes.

According to online publication ESPN Rise: “Many people clearly believe that Florida is the best high school football state. Lake Mary, Florida town, All-American linebacker at USC, and first round pick Keith Rivers of the Cincinnati Bengals is a perfect example of a ‘local-kid-makes-good-dream’ story.

But athletic success does not come easily or cheaply for most youth in high school sports today even here in Florida. Doug Peters, athletic director at Lake Mary High School, tells me that his school alone averages 800 student-athletes a year, and only about 15 of those will go on to college on athletic scholarships after graduation each year.

Although his parents may not be aware of it yet, these young football players already know that they need proper marketing along the lines of: professionally produced videos, personal trainers, and even a “scout” contacting multiple schools on the player’s behalf to get him to play in college. football. The commitment required of today’s high school students is so different because it involves an even greater emotional, personal, and financial investment from the entire family.

Take 16-year-old Trevor Alfredson (full disclosure: my teenage son) who has been playing soccer and loving it since he was six. “I’ve wanted to play Division 1 football for as long as I can remember,” says Trevor. And as a varsity sophomore, Trev’s season also included hiring a video recording firm, talking to two different recruiting firms, training with former NFL player Dana Sanders and attending something called “combinations.”

For those unfamiliar with today’s term “jock”: high school football combines athletes who officially test a number of physical skills such as speed, agility and strength while being watched by various college coaches. The pressure to be noticed is incredibly heavy for these boys, even at the age of 14! The price of second year football alone, with the goal of playing “first division football” can be more than $5,500.

The pressure and problems of “success” are not unique to football either. Lee Marie’s Lee Morgan is a junior who plays two types of soccer (club soccer and varsity soccer) AND soccer, so he will have the best chance to play a college sport at a good school. Super talented and a football freshman, Lee had already sent out emails to a number of college coaches (part of his personal marketing plan) and received a response from some college coaches in Florida. For a fee, Lee was invited to summer football camps so coaches could get a personal, up-close look.

As tough as college sports have become for young athletes today, Lee tells us that “I’ve been playing football since I was 7 years old, and now I want to keep all my options open.” His educator father Walt says “part of today’s added pressure is that the cost of college has gone up, which can put more pressure on athletic scholarships.”

Chip Humble of Florida works for CSA Prep Stars and scouts players for multiple schools. Chip says most parents need help understanding how recruiting really works. And with the exception of those very rare “blue chip players” like Keith Rivers, “many good athletes go unnoticed and unnoticed because they are not properly marketed.”

Experts say the main reason many boys don’t get drafted is because no one knows about them. As Chip reminds parents of his athletic roster, “just because your kid did well in Little League or excelled at his own school, that doesn’t mean they’re ‘blue chip’ All-American athletes as far as college coaches are concerned.” “

Raising a player currently means a personal profile with a website; following coaches on Twitter, verified game and combine stats, and that premium video watched by hundreds of college coaches. Dreams don’t come cheap these days, even in high school!

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