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Here’s another thought on the importance of being laser focused going into the collegiate world as an athlete. You know, one of the bigger issues for former players – yes ALL of us have experienced it at some level, is giving up the game. There’s often a huge void that’s left where “our” sport prevailed for so many years. I know an abundance of former athletes who were D1 All-Americans, MVPs in several different sports who all come face to face with the reality of the real world. When you go from big man or woman on campus to the rest of your life it’s a giant step or leap and so many are not prepared. Those stories aren’t related to Facebook. It’s a really stressful time for those young men and women. I know mid-twenties former athletes who brave this struggle. They’re tough but life, as we all know, is usually the toughest competitor out there and it takes every bit of your positive psyche to get through it. Find the shortest path to happiness and that means not just majoring to stay eligible. Your life after sport should be filled with a past that includes good stories, games, people, coaches, experiences that remain a wonderful piece of what was something you were so privileged to be a part of. The alumni gatherings will be around for the rest of your life! Go back with great news about your new life as a prepared adult! Be ready to close the void…prepare to succeed or you may be headed for some dark moments alone. No parent anywhere wants bright lights in the short term over a life experience you earned by studying hard. That internship towards the end of your playing career is often the greatest moment in your college experience because it represents a positive move towards life thereafter. In the blink of an eye, you’re back at the start. So, find your top hat and cane NOW! Then roll doubles and spin again! You’ll be so, so happy you did! – Jim Simpson

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