All the talk about Ryan Romo being almost 19 years old got me thinking about something that’s been nagging at me since I took this job a little more than four years ago. It’s this suburban legend about Park Cities families giving their sons a “redshirt” year (presumably before kindergarten) so they’ll be more mature as high school athletes.
I have no idea whether this actually goes on. To quantify it, you’d need the birth dates of all Highland Park High School students for a certain number of years, so you could compare the average ages of male and female graduates. Then, to figure out if this is truly a Park Cities phenomenon, you’d need the same data from a few nearby public high schools where sports aren’t emphasized nearly as much (Hillcrest and Woodrow, for example). It also wouldn’t hurt to compare the HP data to that of another football-crazed, single-high-school district — say, Southlake Carroll.
Now, I highly doubt I’d be able to obtain such data from HPISD or any other school districts. But there are several former Scots whose dates of birth are publicly available. Let’s take a look.
I found only one recent Highland Park athlete who was 19 for a significant portion of his senior year: McMurry quarterback Tyler Rentfro turned 19 last February, three months before he graduated.
Former Ohio State and Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Anthony Schlegel turned 19 in March of his senior year (1999-2000). Former Mets pitcher Chris Young and Dartmouth lacrosse player Patrick Campbell both turned 19 in May of their senior years (1997-98 and 2010-11, respectively).
The rest of the players whose birth dates I was able to find all turned 19 after graduating from Highland Park:
Duke lacrosse player Chris Hipps turned 18 in September of his senior year (2009-10).
Rutgers lacrosse player Campbell Sode turned 18 in October of his senior year (2010-11).
Former Baylor and Pittsburgh Steelers punter Daniel Sepulveda turned 18 in January of his senior year (2001-02).
Duke offensive lineman Tanner Stone turned 18 in March of his senior year (2011-12).
As for the biggest names on the market, Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford and Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw turned 18 in February and March, respectively, of their senior year (2005-06).
So what does all of this tell us? Well, if those last two studs were able to achieve so much success while receiving their high school diplomas at the age of 18, it tells me I don’t need to wait until the 4-year-old athlete in my house turns 6 to enroll him in kindergarten.