Well, Coop’s dream is now a reality. This fall he will continue on the post graduate (PG) path for a 5th year of high school, or as some call it a “13th year”, at the Hill Academy in Toronto. Fall 2012 he will begin attending the University of Michigan.
Throughout the summer as he toured schools, U-M consistently remained his #1 choice. Yesterday he verbally inked the deal with Michigan’s Coach Paul, the day before the “dead period”. Throughout this (for us) multi-year process, the #1 goal was to find the best fit for him academically, as a college community and financially. Thanks to lacrosse, he was admitted to an academically competitive school; without lax, even with graduating with distinction, there was no chance of admittance. Thanks to lacrosse, financially he has earned athletic scholarship money to defray some of the high cost.
The icing on the cake was the opportunity to play DI lacrosse. He will do all of the above in Ann Arbor as a Michigan Man and Wolverine.
A big thanks to Mat Wilson on helping us discover both a PG year and The Hill Academy. This one connection changed the arc of Cooper’s life for the better. The dividends that have already begun to flow Coop’s way leave Susan and I thinking we will also explore a PG year for Michael and Max, a kinda “reverse” hold-back strategy on the back end vs keeping the child back a year before he starts 1st grade.
Susan, Cooper and I have learned lots; there was a substantial amount of stuff we didn’t know we didn’t know. Debbie and Brian Rogan, Wendy and Brian Vehar, Gretchen and Jon Greising were all so helpful in helping us discover that we had to find the best fit academically and as a college community first, lax second. This was by far the best advice we got and in our minds the primary guideline on which to build a student-athletes vision for the next 4 years.
The process was further enhanced for Cooper as we had him drive the process from beginning to end. Susan and I were there as mentors, but when it came time to tour, interview and ultimately negotiate with the coaches, Cooper was in the driver’s seat. Yes we all hopped on a con call with financial aid people but other than that and briefly meeting the coach, the student-athlete was the single point of contact. Each Coach remarked at some point how much they respected Coop for this leadership; this did nothing but enhance Coop’s attractiveness in their eyes as they got a taste of the leadership that might soon be on the field, campus and classrooms. Based on the size of the athletic award, Cooper did very, very well for himself based on feedback from those in the know.
As we have discovered, the lacrosse family (aka, lacrosse mafia) is a tight knit group that looks out for each other. This winter Cooper has been invited to join a lax team going to Costa Rica to work with their National Team to help them take things to the next level. On the way, eco-tourism, community service projects, surfing, kite boarding, experiencing the cultures food, arts and history, etc.
I could go on and on how much lax has done for this kid. Rather than “push” this content, feel free to “pull” this outta our heads when the timing is right for you and your son, if he chooses to leverage lax as a tool to enhance and expand the options within the marathon college search process.
We also have some experiences on the summer lax camps/teams that were very high value to get looks as well as those that were less effective.
Lastly, a disclaimer: Cooper LOVES lacrosse. He will play anytime day or night. At our house, you hear this phrase all the time even after an intense practice or game: “care to lax” is our cue to head outside and start tossing the ball together as a family (Susan’s has been seen out there from time to time, too). I share this so there is no misunderstanding on anyone’s part that this was ever a “forced march” for Coop. Or a chore representing a means to an end. Its been organic as he has matured as a young person and lax player. His big passion in life right now and over the past 3 years is competitive lacrosse. It feeds the “warrior” and “magician” inside him. Being a captain fed the “king” in him. As a leader even w/out the captain credentials, connecting with players and coaches on a deeper level feeds the “lover” in him (warrior, king, magician and lover is a GREAT book). If the passion wasn’t there none of the above could have happened. Each child is his own unique person on this life walk. my gosh….I just keep going;-)
In fact Michael and I went to a counselor to get some guidance on making sure we are both on the same page in learning how each of us best send and receives communication as a pre-emptive strike for the upcoming high school years. What worked for Cooper, Susan and I is not necessarily what will work best for Michael (or Max) as we navigate what for us were some challenging years with Cooper. When the fur starts flying, we better be able to communicate well difficult and emotionally charged topics.
Yep, Michael was not thrilled with going. I framed it as I wanted to become a better Dad and the counselor needed him there to better understand who it was I wanted to be a better dad to. he left the session feeling like it was worthwhile. We both picked up some new communication techniques that have already brought us even closer and even sharper at crisp, clear, timely communication. We’ll wrap with a final session with Susan in a couple of weeks as we help him position himself for success in HS by getting off to a strong start, both academically and athletically.
Ha Ha a PS: we haven’t given much thought to coop’s website; figured it had served its purpose and no longer did any update. oh how foolish young grasshopper! i bumped into a summer time acquaintance tis past weekend in TC and somehow she had seen the site. she learned coop would be doing a spring internship in toronto as part of school. she said she has ton of friends up there that either own or owned some big businesses and she will dial them in to expand the number of opportunities for him to choose from. hence, we have updated the site http://coopercharlton.blogspot.com/