Parents of young athletes are highly invested in the success of their children. But the line between investment and self-fulfillment can easily become blurred. At the college signing day of top 40 college football recruit Jacob Copeland, Jacob’s mom walked out of her son’s proud moment after he chose The University of Florida over his mother’s apparently preferred choice of The University of Alabama.

I would start by giving his mom the benefit of the doubt.  Perhaps she is a graduate of The University of Alabama and she has a special connection to the university. Suffice it to say, this assumption is an extreme reach.

It would be more likely and probably more accurate to assume that Jacob’s mom suffers from a neurosis affecting some sports parents.  A neurological disorder which convinces parents that all of their dedication toward their child is really more about them than it is about their child.

I am the parent of young athletes, and I would be the first to admit that I am “all in.”  My oldest child has begun the college recruiting process and I am learning more about the process and more about my child every day.

Here are some quick takeaways:

  1. I have done a great job raising my daughter.  She is acutely aware of the privilege and the responsibility that has been bestowed upon her.
  2. The factors that weigh into her decision-making may be completely different than the factors I have considered important.
  3. The final decision of where she will choose to attend is ENTIRELY HERS!! I will be able to add my opinions and inputs, but she will make this adult life decision for herself.

And this is what Jacob Copeland’s mother can’t seem to understand:

Mom, you’ve done an amazing job in helping your son get to this moment, but now this moment and his future … are HIS!!

Parenting isn’t easy, but parents, try to understand what winning looks like.  Jacob Copeland is growing up, Mom, now it’s your turn.