We’ve all done it at one time or another.

Driving down a four-lane highway and approaching a red light, it has always amazed me what my mind does. Every time.

The first thing that happens after tapping my brakes and beginning the stopping process is that small still voice in my head telling me I need to get in the left lane. After all that’s the passing lane so the automobiles in that lane should drive a little faster once the light turns green.

Right? In the patented words of former college football coach and now college football analyst Lee Corso, “not so fast my friends.”

No pun intended.

I chose this analogy to paint a small picture of what I’m thinking about today.

When we make choices as individuals many times they are of the 50/50 variety, just like the red light situation. That simply means we’re not really certain if the choice we make at that time will be the correct one or not.

Then there are times when making the correct choice is much more obvious, such as choosing to do good rather than evil in life and being a help instead of a hindrance.

Choices. We make them every day. Some organization out there probably keeps track of how many choices we actually make in a single day but I haven’t seen it. I seem to remember that old commercial about dentists being surveyed and nine out of ten recommended a certain toothpaste or toothbrush. Someone had to do the leg-work there to find that out.

If memory serves me, that commercial is still running today, just updated.

Which leads me to my topic for this week.

Next Wednesday is National Signing Day for college football. High school seniors across the country, at least those that didn’t sign during the early signing period in November, will be deciding which college they will sign with and then sign their national letter of intent.

In other words they are signing a contract … an agreement to attend and play ball for that particular school. Once they sign that piece of paper it’s a legal binding document.

This happens every year. It’s nothing new. And NLI’s go for every sport on the collegiate level, which is a long list. Log on to the web site of your favorite college sometime when you have a few minutes and check out how many different individual sports are listed. I did that recently for one of the major state universities and was a bit surprised to see over 50 sports teams listed, which includes both men and women.

Back in the day (that’s slang for the old days) when I was in high school, high school senior boys had maybe five or six total sports they could choose to play if given the opportunity, the most obvious being the ‘Big 3’ of football, basketball and baseball. I also seem to remember soccer being a choice back then, although it was a newer college sport, and tennis.

High school senior girls had even fewer sports to choose from.

Now there’s everything from fishing to rifle to volleyball, even archery. That’s just scratching the surface.

My point is, when 17 and 18-year olds sign that dotted line they hope they’ve made the right choice for them. Normally these teenage athletes have visited school campuses, taken the guided tour of the campus and the town, visited with the coaches as well as many of the current players.

In person no less.

But these are not normal times. These are the days of a global pandemic that has changed the way we do everything, including recruiting of athletes.

Think about it. It’s tough enough on a high school student/athlete to make the correct choice when they visit a particular school in person. Now that COVID has forced a mostly-virtual recruiting and signing process it’s even harder on these young people that will be leaving the creature comforts of home, most for the first time in their lives, to room with a person they don’t know.

I hope we’ll all make it a point to encourage these young men and women on whatever choice they do make and support them because even they may not be one hundred percent sure of their choice when they make it.

And to make the selection process even harder this year, the NCAA has granted players that were seniors last season another season to play if the player so chooses.

And many are choosing to return to campus for an extra year. Some of that is based on improving a players draft stock while others are coming back simply for the pleasure of playing one last year.

A year they normally wouldn’t have.

When we stop and really think about that it basically means there are fewer new scholarships to go around this year which means the choice is harder this time around for this years high school seniors.

In one week we will be publishing names and photos of high school football seniors from the Daily Corinthian coverage area who will be signing with the college or university of their choice. We all look forward to this time of year, even though the early signing period has taken much of the original luster away from the traditional date.

I would encourage everyone that knows one of these seniors to offer them a positive word of support. If not in person, then maybe on Facebook or Twitter or another form of social media.

Believe me, I know from experience … these young people need and will greatly appreciate all the support they can get.

They are making an important choice for their future. We all want it to be the right one.

So which lane should I get in at this light, the left or the right?

Til next time…

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