Casey Stangel is a junior pitcher at Lake City High School (Coeur d’Alene, Idaho) who also plays for the SoCal Explosion. Her high school team won the Class 5A state softball championship last season and she has committed to play college softball at the University of Missouri. She will blog for ESPNHS throughout the 2012 season.
It is very hard when you are looking at different schools and trying to make a decision. Every coach is so nice, and every campus has amazing things about it. But how do you know when it’s The One? There are many factors that go into answering that question, and it varies for everyone. For me it came down to three key things:
Tradition of the school
The “feeling” on campus
The first thing a lot of people will tell you is, “Never choose a school based on the coach, because you never know what is going to happen in the future.” This is a very valid point, but for me as a player I have to have the right coaches. I chose the University of Missouri because I believe in every part of me that I chose the best coaches in the country. When I go to college I want to be developed as a player and a person. I have seen so many amazing players go to college, but they never improve. I think that an important part of picking your school is choosing coaches that are going to challenge you as a player and make you the best you can be.
The traditions at every college are unique, and that is my favorite part to learn about. I enjoy listening to all the different stories and hearing about the past teams and how unique each one is. Seeing all the great accomplishments that have come through a university is a really neat thing. What I loved most about Missouri were some of the accomplishments from the past that were really awesome. What really hit me, though, was they focused more on what they wanted to do in the future than what had happened in the past. It really makes me excited because they want to go after all of these big things and I will be a part of it. They want to carry out a tradition of excellence, and for me to imagine being a part of that really makes a difference.
One tip I would give anyone going on a visit to a school is that when you walk around, imagine yourself being there in college. As I walked around the Missouri campus, through the weight room, the athletic center, the locker rooms, and even stepping on the field, I could see myself doing that every day. If you don’t feel at home at a school, it is not the right place to be. When I was in Missouri I felt at home, and I felt a part of something so important, and I knew it was the place for me. I saw all the dedicated fans, how close everyone was and how involved the community was, and it gave me this feeling of security that’s hard to explain until you have felt it. You just know when you’re in the right place and all you want is to put on that uniform and play.
Everyone is different in why they choose a school, and there are a lot of factors that go into it. It is a very stressful process in a lot of ways, but enjoy the process and learn all you can. In the end you will find that one certain school that makes you feel how I do about Missouri, and trust me when I say there is no better feeling!
Read the previous installment of Casey's blog – how to get reach out to college coaches – here.