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Courting Success

June 6, 2016 by  
Filed under Extra

New book explores how young people can pursue dreams of becoming a professionals athlete.


Rory T. Edwards

Americans are fascinated by professional athletes. Many of those stars are African- American — and not a few young black people dream of following in their footsteps, drawn by the promise of wealth, fame, and glamour.

Percentage-wise, the odds are low that the average person will break into professional sports. But there is a way, and Rory T. Edwards shares insight into the process with his book, “So You Want to Become a Professional Athlete.”

“My book is about how to become a professional athlete and a blueprint on how to become a professional person,” he said. “The two professions have correlating aspects, and the various roles I have had to perfect in my own life — father, coach, athlete, activist, educator — assisted me in establishing the related principles for success in my book.”

Edwards says that many high school graduates come out of school in search of far more than a job. “I often hear people ask a recent high school graduate, ‘So, what are you going to do next now that you have graduated?’ Many youth respond, ‘I don’t know. I am going to find myself.’ I usually follow-up with the question, ‘So, what have you been doing all these years? You haven’t found yourself?’ I really think it’s a matter of understanding your purpose, aligning yourself with that purpose, and running in that lane unapologetically to receive the best results in your life.”

Rory T. Edward's book, “So You Want to Become a Professional Athlete.”

The author shares a personal story to illustrate his point: “I remember when I was 14 years of age — and I really, really loved basketball and I thought I was a really good player. There was a basketball court in New York where everyone in the community would come to play. My friends and I took the train to the court, and we were getting ready to play a game and a man came on the court and signaled for us to throw him the ball. He had a bottle of wine in his hand, and placed the bottle on the ground and signaled again for us to throw him the basketball. So, we threw the ball to him and he commenced to hit 35 jumpers back to back. He never said a thing or made any expressions. When he finished he threw us back the ball, picked up his bottle of wine, and walked away. Most basketball players would die just to hit five jumpers in a row. I tell people that man’s talent was innate and also a God-given talent. But it was overshadowed by his addiction to his wine. In most cases, people know what their talent is. But as I say: “life happens.” Many are too focused on what changed them in life and not focused on their true passions. People know their passion, but are often too afraid to seek it because they are afraid of failure.”

Edwards advises parents to take charge when their children are looking for scholarship offers. “The first thing I would say to parents is to sit down with your son and daughter and ask them, ‘What college or university do they want to attend?’ If it’s Duke, UCLA, or Georgetown, you have to ask yourself if these colleges or universities know about your child. Because that’s the only way your child will receive an athletic scholarship — they have to know about your child. It is a mistake to sit back and wait for a university or college’s athletic staff to come looking for your child. When they come looking for a particular athlete, they are looking for someone that fulfills their particular athletic needs at that time.”

He added: “Fathers and mothers have to be the agents for their child who desire to get an athletic scholarship, and they will have to promote their child to the desired university they want to attend. With social media and access to videotaping from your cell phone, parents can do the necessary media work to make sure their child is noticed by a particular college or university.”

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