Too often in this era of high school players who become media stars by way of increased prep coverage, we forget why these stars are whatthey are.
The focus is on the player, his accomplishments, his coach and his team, and deservedly so. But I think we occasionally needto spotlight the parents.
In most cases involving an outstanding player headed for college,you will find that the parents played a very important role.
North County's premier goalie, Tim McGeeney -- who signed a letter of intent to attend Loyola College of Baltimore on a lacrosse scholarship yesterday -- is a shining example.
Tim is the fourth in a long lineof McGeeney brothers who excelled in lacrosse and earned a college scholarship. In an age of skyrocketing tuition, parents who encourage athletic participation as a vehicle into college are more than wise.
Not only are they eliminating what can be an extreme financial burden to most families, but they are developing a well-rounded person. And not many families have done so any better than the McGeeneys of Linthicum.
"I owe my parents everything," said the soft-spoken andhandsome Tim after signing with the Greyhounds yesterday atNorth County.
"They got me started in athletics, and my mom and dad always stressed schoolwork first. As a result, I have great study skills andI enjoy coming to school. They told me at a young age that lacrosse could get me a scholarship, and that's true."
McGeeney, who carries a 3.50 grade point average, listened to his parents, George and Patricia, and followed the wonderful example set by his three older brothers and 21-year-old sister, Connie.
The only girl in the McGeeneyclan, Connie is employed by Coca-Cola and will marry a midshipman this June.
"Being the youngest, I don't think I got any special treatment," said Tim, a first-team All-County goalie last year.
"It was good for me, the pressure of fulfilling the McGeeney legacy. That is whathas made me such a competitor and so aggressive out on the field."
And what a legacy this 17-year-old had to follow, not only lacrosse-wise, but academically, as well. His three brothers all graduated from college in four years.
Each brother attended Andover High and played in the Andover Apaches Youth Lacrosse program that their father helped start.
George, the oldest brother at age 30, is one of the greatest defensemen ever to play the game. He didn't start playing the sport until his sophomore year at Andover, the building that now houses the North County High students, but he went on to achieve All-County and All-American honors.
In his final year at UMBC, George not only was named All-American, but NCAA Division I Defenseman of the Year, as well. He went on to play club lacrosse with the Maryland Lax Club and on two All-World Teams in 1986 and 1990 in Australia.
George works as a district manager for Pepsi Cola.
Mike, who is 28 and a senior technical buyer at the University of Maryland, is agraduate of theAir Force Academy, where he was All-Rocky Mountain Conference with the Falcons.
He remained in the Air Force for five years after graduating from the Colorado academy, and serves as an assistant lacrosse coach at UMBC.
John, 27, resides in Philadelphia after an All-American career at UMBC. He plays club lacrosse in the City of Brotherly Love, where he is a district manager for Proctor & Gamble Co.
"And Connie is marrying a midshipman this summer, and shestill coaches for the Andover Apaches," beamed George Sr. "Now Timmyis off to Loyola. We're on a roll."
It wasn't easy for Tim to select Loyola over UMBC, but it was his decision, with no pressure from his parents.
"We always tried to give each one of them an option, counseled them and tried to alleviate the pressure, but it has to be their decision," said George Sr., who is a graduate of Baltimore Polyand Morgan State and who claims to have been "a terrible athlete."
"My wife and I always hoped that the decisions they made would not be swayed by any coach or athletic program and would be what they wanted first. It was difficult for Tim to turn down UMBC, but the graduate program in business at Loyola appealed to him, along with Coach Cottle."
Dave Cottle, who was an All-American at Salisbury State before coaching Severn School, is one of the top coaches in the country.His laid-back style appealed to the McGeeneys.
As a result, Cottle landed arguably the premier goalie in the state over not only UMBC but also top-notch lacrosse and academic institutions like Duke and Johns Hopkins.
"I really liked Coach Cottle's recruiting style. He didn't put a lot of pressure on me," said Tim.
"I first met CoachCottle through my family when I was much younger and I attended his summer camps. He wrote me last summer and called every once in a while, but not all the time. He was lax and I liked that."
After making a visit to Loyola -- the fifth school he visited -- Tim was convinced that was where he wanted to continue his education.