Athletes and Dating

High School can be an amazing time for an athlete. They can experience the challenges of some difficult classes, bonding with teammates that will become great friends, playing under the “Friday night lights” and, finally, dating, and possibly, locking into a steady significant other.

Depending on your point of view, the last three words of the above paragraph can either put an enormous smile on your face or make you want to cringe and kick a butterfly. The whole “my son, who is a tremendous athlete, just got a girlfriend and……..” is as old as athletics itself. The issue is how to deal with it.

Now, there are two ways to look at this and I have spoken to coaches about it as well….

  1. One side can be excited for an athlete that locks into a significant other as it can control and tame them a bit. If you have a significant other, you are less likely to be hitting the streets raging with your friends and get into mischief that way. An athlete that is tied down tends to be a bit more subdued on the weekend and, therefore, can get into less trouble.
  2. The other side is not a fan of an athlete having a significant other as it usually means more drama. And, with more drama, comes more mental anguish. The last thing a coach wants is their prized recruit wondering what he did wrong and how he can fix it with his date. The coach wants you focused. And, to clarify, that means focus on school and football.
So, the issue for the athlete is whether or not to get a significant other?  Let’s be honest, it is going to happen. Athletes tend to not have too big of an issue obtaining dates. Not sure if it is the confidence, the dashing good looks, the potential for a ground breaking hug or the ability to be a party trick, but Long Snappers always seem to be with a date(s). Part of the job if you will. Therefore, it’s going to happen.

Then, the issue for the parents of said athletes is whether to let it (flock of dates/locking down to a significant other) happen or “attempt” to put the brakes on it with their parental powers.

I say let them experience life and do what they are going to do. Let them have fun. Let them see what the bad ones are like so they know how to hold on to the good ones. They may even be that one in a million case that ends up with their high school sweetheart. Bless their heart if they are and more power to them. Plus, if you (the parental figure) try to halt it, they will push back harder. Remember, you jumped from birth to parenting without going through the high school years so you don’t know what they are going through at this stage in their lives.
I may sound cold-hearted but it is reality and I have seen it countless times with my Long Snappers throughout the years so I am tad biased. Too many times I have seen this happen…
  • a phenomenal athlete locks into a significant other
  • said athlete “knows” it is the real thing
  • said athlete becomes obsessed with their partner
  • they end up letting it consume too much time in their lives
  • they become distracted from their studies, their sport and lose focus
  • they get passed up on the depth chart and continually make excuses as to why they aren’t playing more or at all. 
  • they graduate (sometimes they don’t)  and, for the rest of their lives, wonder what if?

Bottom line, you (the athlete) are young and you should go out and have some fun. Date, enjoy life, lock in if you feel the need BUT remember that unless that significant other is paying your way through college, you might have to cut the strings and live your own life a lot sooner than later.


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