We've always been a crazy sports family. From travel ice hockey to club soccer to water polo and swim, we've had lots of intense weekends and some great family times. Now that our oldest is a Sophomore in high school, we're seeing the commitment necessary to playing high school sports. He plays water polo and swims and is in the water 6-7 hours a day. He loves it and I love what it gives him. He's part of a team and has an incredible work ethic. So now the problem comes in. We've seen Seniors that are applying to colleges that have maintained incredible grades while committing to their sport. And they aren't getting in to the colleges of their choice. The boys that are getting in are the ones that were strictly academic. These are boys that have done nothing but study and get good grades. So what to do? Personally I don't think that would be good for any of my children. I think the sports keep them focused, in shape and well rounded. I think socially the sport has helped them grow as people. We've been told over and over by the counselors to focus on academics rather than sports because much more merit scholarships are awarded than sports scholarships. But the coaches want to win. They push these kids to the limits, leaving very little time to study let alone do homework. If they skip a practice, they risk being benched. It's a really tough balancing act that as a parent I never know if I'm doing the best thing. But I have to think I'm doing what is best for my child. He may not get into the top college, but he'll have had a high school experience that was balanced and full of great memories. And in the end, he'll end up in a college that will be right for him. And as their parents, we'll have had many full, exciting weekends.