College season ramping up

Published 9:20 pm Thursday, September 19, 2019

I’m a bit occupied with colleges this week for some reason.

As a sports fan, this is where things are picking up. Between professional, college and high school sports, you’ve got everything going on — football, soccer, baseball, field hockey, and even the NHL is in its preseason.

But having lived in Virginia for most of my life and being a big fan of college sports, I have my particular favorite — let’s just say mine coincides with the Charlottesville university that shares the same mascot as Lakeland High School, going back to when I was a child and first watching sports on TV.

Email newsletter signup

Still, outside of when that school faces another one in the state, I hope for success for all of them, having known or covered many people who have played sports at many of them. Living in the Hampton Roads and northeastern North Carolina region, for instance, I have covered college football and basketball at Hampton and Elizabeth City State, and football at Norfolk State, and though I haven’t covered any college sports at Old Dominion, I do follow its program closely.

And, dating back to when Jeff Jones played at the University of Virginia, I have keenly followed his career, and even got a chance to do a postgame interview with him when he was coaching American University in a game at Hampton.

But great things happen at smaller schools too, places like Christopher Newport, Virginia Wesleyan, the Apprentice School, Mid-Atlantic Christian and even Paul D. Camp Community College. Regent has even added sports in recent years. When College of the Albemarle had an athletic program, I covered baseball and softball there and saw many a talented player come through.

I enjoying seeing players I covered do well at these and other colleges around the country.

But I also enjoyed hearing about the life and academic success of people I covered who did not play sports.

It leads me into something coming up on the calendar — Citywide College Night Sept. 30 at Lakeland. Representatives from more than 40 colleges and universities will be there to share information and answer questions about admission requirements, programs of study, financial aid and more.

It’s a great time for those who are considering college to learn more about those places. I didn’t go to one when I was in high school, and I wish I had. College was some far-off, distant dream for me, even though I had an older sister who by that time was in the middle of getting her degree from Virginia Commonwealth University. With just average B-C level grades, I didn’t think of myself as college material until late in the process and didn’t even think much about it until most application and financial aid deadlines had passed.

I made what turned out to be a good decision in going first to community college, working my way through that and developing more confidence in myself academically.

But with a free opportunity to learn about schools and what is available, at whatever point someone is in the process of choosing a college to attend, it’s a worthwhile endeavor, even if ultimately, you choose a different path.