Are We Compatible?

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting really tired of all the dating services that are advertised on television.  If they just ran those false ads during soap operas or the late news, I could probably handle it.  It’s when they invade sports programming that really starts to annoy me.

I don’t remember the early dating services, but E-Harmony drives me nuts.  Some old guy comes on and tells you he checks 27 or 29 compatibility points.  The result is shown on the screen when the perfect couples are standing side by side with smirks on their faces.  I’ll bet they’re all actors that just met.

E-Harmony is far from the only dating or coupling service advertised on television.  I’ve been hearing about one for people over 50 and for Christians who want a Christian relationship.  I have a couple of issues with those sites.  Women over 50 have a new, great title; they’re classified as “cougars.”  Have you ever heard of a title for a guy over 50 other than “old guy?”  That site really kills me with their visual images.  They show a woman that’s probably 35, but with a streak of grey in her hair dating a guy who’s probably 36, but prematurely grey.  This “Cougar Couple” are on a roller coaster.  What self-respecting Cougar would ride a roller coaster unless they had their grandkids with them?

The Christian dating site really irritates me.  They make you feel the same guilt you feel when you skip church on Sunday.  If you don’t use their web site, you obviously are a bad person and looking for something other than hand holding while walking in the park.  Look out E-Harmony, guilt will ruin your business.

The really late night web sites where singles can talk are really frauds.  They imply a good, healthy conversation with other singles that occur sometime after midnight.  Any male that calls will surely get an All-American looking girl with a sultry voice.  In truth, the women who answer these calls are probably Cougars in age and in need of diet advice in appearance.  These sites would hate to see video phones become popular.  Then again, the males making the calls surely don’t have six pack abs or blemish-free faces.  The pretty people are too busy hand holding in the park for late night phone calls.

The other day it hit me; dating services and recruiting services are very similar.  They have basically the same goal and almost an identical way of accomplishing their goals.  Unless you have dealt with recruiting services, you may not know what I mean.

The first thing a recruiting service wants is the player’s profile.  The recruit has to list all their positive skills that would make them the perfect fit for your basketball program.  I have never been on a dating web site, but I hear you give a profile that lists why you would be the perfect date or even a flawless spouse (if there is such a thing).

I don’t know about dating profiles, but there are some sure-fire ways to find out if a recruit’s profile is fraudulent.  The first thing I look for is points per game.  If a high school player can’t score, they hide that statistic near the end.  Beware of recruits who have their senior picture on the recruiting web site.  It’s hard to determine anything from a picture of a basketball player in a prom dress.  I’ll bet a lot of dating profile pictures are of the person’s good looking cousin and not of the dating site purchaser.

Another fact to look for immediately is the size of the recruit and the position player.  If a 5-8 player lists “4” or “5”, it means she has to play post since she is the tallest at her high school or she doesn’t have the shooting range to play guard.  If you ever see the statement, “She’s a great defensive player,” that means she can’t play offense but I don’t want to talk about it.”  It’s always good to have scholar-athletes on your team, but if there greatest asset is being in the high school’s Honor Society, they probably aren’t in any All-Star Societies.

Hiding the low points for recruits and potential life-time partners has to be important to the two services.  If a potential date needs dental work, I bet you won’t see it on their profile.  If they have a medical condition where coffee gives them gas, you won’t know that until after you’ve met at a Starbucks.  Likewise, if you’re overweight, short and slow, coaches won’t find that out until the campus visit.  A few threats from the parents to the recruit’s high school coach and those poor souls are forced to give the college coaches a view that need carnival Fun House mirrors to make true.

You may not believe this, but the first meeting between dating service couples and the meeting of recruits and college coaches has to be similar.  You personally meet that potential life-time partner for the first time; you won’t display the behavior that has caused your last three girl friends to file restraining orders.  A player from a recruiting service shows up on campus, the least desirable traits are subjects that are to be avoided.

There’s always that great excuse to pass on the blame.  You ask why the restraining orders, the dating service candidate can easily say, “I didn’t know she/he was a psycho.”  With a basketball recruit, the poor high school coach takes the fall.  “I just didn’t get along with my coach,” the recruit will explain.  “He played me in the wrong position and wouldn’t let me shoot.”  If I heard that excuse once from a recruiting service candidate, I’ve heard it a hundred times.

E-Harmony or one of the dating services swears that one in five of all relations today begin with a service like they offer.  They never give the statistics of how many of these perfect relationships with 27 or 29 compatibilities fall flat on their face.  It’s always that annoying 30th compatibility point where the date clips their finger nails in public that dooms the relationship.  When the break-up occurs, you can just hear the dumped couple explaining, “She/He wasn’t honest in their profile.”

Bingo to those characteristics in a recruiting service basketball candidate.  When they came to visit, one of their parents will say, “She can accomplish anything if she puts her mind to it.”  If I give this recruit a chance to make the team, many times she’ll come into my office after a couple of weeks and say, “I just don’t have my heart in it anymore.”  What she really means is basketball is too hard of work and my chances of making the team are way too slim for working this hard.  Therefore, her heart just isn’t into basketball, probably because the coach didn’t like her AGAIN!

The sad part of both of these services is they cost money.  I have no idea what a dating service costs.  I hope my wife is reading this part.  I do know recruiting services can cost into the thousands of dollars.  It seems to me if you are in a tough spot with your love life, there are cheaper means of meeting potential spouses.  I read once the best place to find social entertainment is to ask your friends for help.  One of my former players introduced Michele (my wife) to me.

A couple of years ago, Sam, Jacob and I went to a Royals game on a Saturday evening and we bought our tickets in the parking lot.  They were great seats in the club level and the seats were way below face value.  As soon as we sat down, there were a lot of pre-dating conversations going on around us.  That escalated as the night and number of beers consumed multiplied.  Finally, a young lady looked at my kids and me and handed over her card.  It turned out all the public display of attention was occurring because I was in the middle of a Kansas City singles night on the town.  Even though Kansas City singles is free, they must be losing clients to expensive dating services since they had to sell their left over baseball tickets.

Potential recruits can save their money.  For less than $50 bucks, they can make up their own highlight tape, construct a profile that hides their weaknesses, and find the addresses of all the schools they want to look at them.  They can even use their senior pictures.

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Gene Steinmeyer

About Gene Steinmeyer

Gene Steinmeyer coached the Northwest Missouri State women’s basketball team for 13 seasons before retiring after 26 years as a collegiate head coach after the 2011-12 season. He retired as the second winningest women’s basketball coach at Northwest as his 2010-11 team won both the MIAA Regular Season and Tournament Championship advancing to the NCAA National Semifinals one game shy of the national championship game.