Turning pro is a dream for athletes who have worked their butt off their entire life and sacrificed so much for their sport. It’s an honor to be considered one of the elite considering the amount of high school athletes who actually become professional athletes is somewhere in the .11% range. Here is what NCAA stats prove: Of the 854,200 current high school athletes only 1000 of those participants will turn pro in their sport.
If you think the odds of making it as a professional are against you then you are right, but who knows?Maybe you do have what it takes and you don’t even know it yet.
Mallory Burdette was one of those athletes who never would have thought she had what it takes to compete in college, let it be as a professional. While Burdette was busy making a great collegiate name for herself as a team captain on the Stanford Tennis team, she took this past summer before her senior year to compete in some serious tournament play. Before she knew it, she had earned herself a wildcard spot for the biggest US tournament of the year; The US Open.
She was clearly making a name for herself on the court
She advanced to the third round, where she faced off against her idol, Maria Sharapova. She never believed she was good enough to win the first two rounds, and here she was; playing the number 3 Women’s Tennis professional of the world.
Before heading into the Open, Burdette had no reservations about returning to Stanford and finishing up her last year and earning her undergraduate degree in Psychology. Because she had no idea her talent was capable of matching that of the pros.
The Change of Heart
Almost immediately after her loss to Sharapova, reports went out; Burdette was turning pro. It became official on Stanford’s tennis page. Burdette has since left college and is currently preparing for her next tournament as a professional.
The Athlete Who Could Have Turned Pro, But Didn’t
Faced with the decision to compete against the BEST, most fourteen- year-olds would be ill equipped to face off against professionals. Not Cheng-Tsung Pan, who five years ago was the youngest amateur Men’s golf quarterfinalist since 1913.
Cheng-Tsung Pan was blessed with great talent which blossomed early, at only fourteen, he could have decided to take the money and head off to the life of professional golfers, but instead he declared he wanted to attend college and get his education.
Both of These Athletes; Having Tasted Life as Professional Took Completely Different Paths
It’s no wonder this happened; Burdette never dreamed she could compete at such an elite level and not wanting to miss the chance, she ran with her instinct. While Cheng-Tsung Pan, a born golfer, realized his talent was good, but wanted to do more with his skill. He wanted to get educated. He knows the professional lifestyle will be there when he’s ready so he’s not going to rush it. He has his collegiate career to focus on before being able to hit the qualifying tournaments once more.
Both athletes have a clear sense of what it takes to become a professional, they made the sacrifices and decided what’s best for them; one choosing to go pro and the other to hold out. Their decisions were not easy, so consider the sacrifices you will have to make when you create your own career path in sports.