“I hate the chart!!!!”
Okay, maybe the volume and emotion with which Cal actually said this do not merit four exclamation points, but to me, it felt like a letter opener being shoved in my ear.
How can you hate the chart? It’s color-coded, contains all pertinent information, and the spacing is so nice you would think I used an actual ruler instead of the cardboard from the back of a pad of graph paper.
“I’m only going to one school.”
Right! But isn’t it encouraging to see all these schools who would like you to come?
“Can we start crossing some off?”
Yes, we can.
But instead of actually, physically, blacking out rows of the chart (sigh of relief) we sat down and chose four schools that would be priority contacts for Cal. He is now responsible for keeping in touch with these four coaching staffs. He no longer feels obligated to return every call that comes in, which is a huge weight off of his shoulders, because the conversation with a coach from a school you are probably not going to attend is really scripted and not at all useful:
Do you have any questions about Joe Blow U? (Not really.) When can we get you down for a visit? (Probably not ever.) You can really put the ball in the basket! (Thanks, I work very hard at that.) I think you’re set up for a great senior season. (Me too. Thanks again and goodbye.)
He wanted to have his decision made by the time the season started, around Thanksgiving. That is seeming unlikely. But we aren’t adding every new school to the chart anymore. We’re screening the new ones before they get put on. This will help keep him from feeling overwhelmed.
And maintain the integrity of the chart.