Wednesday was national college football signing day — an annual holiday for many sports geeks and dedicated alumni — when high school seniors can officially sign a commitment letter to continue their athletic and academic careers at a specific college or university.
It’s a big deal; not because ESPN dedicates an entire channel to tracking the signings or because the names of 18-year-old kids are sent trending in the Twitterverse, but because of what the day represents in the broader scope of a young person’s life.
College football is important. We like it. It’s fun to watch and follow through the fall and into the winter. And while college football has made signing day a media sensation — following recruiting has become its own niche industry — it is still just a small part of what the day represents. So, while analysts dramatically sort out the hierarchy of college football’s top programs on television, we’d like to recognize those future college student-athletes who may not get the love from ESPN or grab headlines in major newspapers.
It doesn’t matter if a kid is going to Notre Dame on a full football scholarship or is paying their own way to Goshen College to play soccer; making it to college and committing to a team is impressive at any level. The “superstar” athletes may get the bulk of the attention (and they have earned it by making the most of their talents), but their accomplishment is no more special than that of their future college classmates and teammates.
Locally, Concord senior DuWhan Alford signed Wednesday to play football for Eastern Michigan University. We’d like to congratulate Alford on this great moment in his life. We’d also like to congratulate the many other high school student-athletes who have committed to participate in college athletics next school year. They are: Gaby Romo, (Goshen) soccer at Indiana University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne; Sarah Emerson (Concord) soccer, St. Joseph’s College; Jackie Greenawalt (Concord) soccer, St. Joseph’s College; Sophie Brown (Fairfield) track, University of South Florida; Aimee Swihart (Goshen) basketball, Bethel College; KiLee Knafel (Wawasee) basketball, IUSB; Tim Johnson (Concord) golf, Bethel College; Lindsay Ziegler (NorthWood) track and field, Bethel College; and Dylan Gessinger (NorthWood) golf, Marian University.
ESPN may not have shown up, but we’re proud of all of these young people and the example they have set by working hard and achieving their goals.