Leaving Bako is a no-no

Mohamed Bafakih, Sports Editor

Bakersfield has seen waves of talented athletes make their departure into the real world straight out of high school by attending schools outside of the area.

But do some realize they are not ready, whether it’s in-state or out-of-state, Division 1 or community college?

It’s understandable to make the decision when you can manage the obstacles of being on your own at 18 or 19 (even though most of us really can’t even go a day without seeing momma), but really, it takes a lot to handle the pressure of living up to expectations while holding a scholarship or being a walk-on.

Adjustments are part of the process, but it’s all about progress.

This is where Bakersfield College allows students to mature in every aspect as a young adult with four-year aspirations.

First off, it’s a chance to stay home.

So what if you want to leave? It’s almost guaranteed more than 1-of-2 students need to be home to develop or will come back home eventually.

As New York Life Insurance mentioned in an article, “56 percent of men and 43 percent of women between 18 and 24 are living with one or both parents. As many as 65 percent of recent college graduates have returned home.”

Also, freedom isn’t really free…we all know.

It’s completely comprehendible someone from Bakersfield is anxious to get out of this “shithole”, but come on; you think you can afford the price of living elsewhere?

Just because you see your friends leaving, it doesn’t mean it should be an obligation for you to leave as well…take to my colleague Brooke Howard’s columns.

ESPN.com’s National Director of Recruiting Paul Biancardi took to Twitter and made a great point recently.

“Don’t be in a rush to get to the next level…be in a rush to improve,” he said.

Kids don’t seem to get that.

It’s as if Bakersfield and BC automatically ring a bad bell to our residents.

Competing at the community college level truly determines your readiness for the next level.

Those two years shape you, polishes you, and tests your abilities both on the playing grounds and in the classroom.

I respect the hustle and grind of a junior college athlete. They seem more focused on making it to the next level.

At the high school level, some athletes are just naturally gifted and their transition will be smooth into a four-year program, but I still think it’s the mental aspect of a JUCO athlete that will allow them to perform better by the time they get ready to make the same leap.

For instance, our baseball team, women’s basketball team, swim teams, and a few other sports teams are just about all local. When you see this, it makes you appreciate their effort into continuing to represent Bakersfield.

What I really don’t seem to get is why a student-athlete from Bakersfield will decide to go to another community college out of the area when BC can provide what they’re looking for while they can stay home and save up some money.

This is a common trend that seems just flat-out selfish.

Everyone is looking to compete to earn a scholarship and play the sport they love, but when it’s all set and done – being ready for whatever mental, physical and emotional obstacles a teenage athlete may have to overcome shows they’re ready to be at a four-year program.