Pipe or Diamond: An article about the life of being a Junior high school lacrosse player through…

The September 1st is the deadline for when Division 1 college coaches can communicate with high school juniors (the 2020 class). Many in this class worked and played their best lacrosse this summer so that they were able to leave a lasting impact with the top coaches in the game in hopes to getting a phone call, email or text message from one of them once the clock struck midnight.

Kaitlyn Cavanaugh, a junior from Chattahoochee (GA) was given a writing assignment over the summer. The Attacker who is a three time All-American, details in her piece what life is like as a high school athlete going through this recruiting process. Katie pinpoints some great advice and things to remember for all student athletes that are pursuing playing at the next level.

Pipe or Diamond

“Pressure can burst a pipe, or pressure can make a diamond (Robert Horry)”. In this case, the pipes are the ninety-five percent of high school athletes who don’t play in college, and the diamonds are the five percent who do. Every athlete, at some time in their career, is given the “just have fun” speech. The odds of playing in college loom in our heads: the number of people who believe you can do it, the number college coaches watching and evaluating your every move, the number of people you’re competing against for a roster spot, and every minute spent working to outperform others. It’s hard just to have fun and not crack under the pressure.With the dream of playing on a high ranking D1 lacrosse program comes incomprehensible challenges: every time I enter a classroom or step onto the field, I carry with me social stress, academic pressure, and the constant fear of failing.

Cavanaugh was named the offensive player of the year for her high school team this past season, and was named to the Jacksonville and Georgia All Star Teams, the Cascade Elite 80 All Star Team, and 2017 Georgia All State team.

The one thing that you are before an athlete is a student. Grades, GPA, Honors, AP, Milestones, Duel Enrollment, SATs, and ACTs are what can make or break you. It does not matter if you are at the top in athletics. You must also be on top academically otherwise, universities will look right over you. Most anxiety and burnout from student-athletes come from the student always trying to give a hundred and ten percent to both athletics and academics: constant concern about whether you did enough for the next test or project, even when you have three games that week; pressures that the rest of your life come down to a hundred-seventy question bubble sheet (ACT); questioning whether you’ve carried enough academically over the past four years to accomplish the dream.

The fear of failure is imminent through the entire process of recruitment, whether in school or on the field. So many thoughts run through your head as that time gets closer: What if I don’t get an offer? What if I haven’t worked hard enough? What if I let people down? What if I lose this big part of me? What happens if I get hurt now? What happens if I don’t have what it takes? What happens if this test grade is not high enough? What happens if I pick the wrong school? “Strong thoughts are accompanied by great emotions (Bangamdiki Habyarimana)”. It’s unnerving when the people around you are so confident in your ability, yet you doubt yourself. Nothing would be worse than letting down the people who helped me get to where I am today by not reaching the goal I have had since sixth grade.

Being a teenager can be very awkward, especially in social situations. Once you add in social media and peer pressure it’s hard to be everyone else’s version of perfect. As a college prospect, a university or coach can look at your social media posts, pictures, friends, and associates, or videos and view them as inappropriate. During the recruiting timeline, your reputation is critical. “It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it (Benjamin Franklin)”. You should never post or do anything that could risk your reputation or hinder your chances at a scholarship. You sense your actions are under a microscope being picked apart by coaches, teachers, friends, and family. I am left constantly wondering what they think, and how to be perfect … if there is such a thing as a perfect teenager.

To be a college athlete, you must be able to handle constant pressure, be determined to work hard and have a persistent can-do attitude. Only five percent of all high school athletes will make it to the college level. Ninety-five percent trickle down the drain. The mental, physical, and social stresses have claimed many talented athletes. The only thing I have left to do is to wait and see if the years of workouts, private lessons, studying and dedicating the last ten years to the sport of lacrosse will pay off. “All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think, we become (Buddha)”. This is my time. Game on!

Here’s a link to Katie’s 2018 Highlights:


High School:

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