Every athlete at some point in time starts to think about the life of a professional athlete. This is the dream of playing sports, eventually making it to such a high level that you are paid to play.
We all dream of the car and the nightlife and the people we’ll meet and the fans who will be hoping just to see us up close.
The life of a star.
I see these athletes up close every day. I see the ones with stars in their eyes and I see the ones who’s stars have since faded black. I have seen the thrill of achievement and I have seen the agony of “The End”.
Even the athletes who make it “pro” don’t necessarily live a life that you would’ve felt you’d have. A minor league baseball player isn’t uncommon to make themselves $1,000 a month to play for a major league affiliate team. Worse if you are playing Indy ball.
The same could be said for D-League players and Arena football Stars.
Arena athletes can make a prorated portion of about $50-$70,000 a year. Only problem is that’s for 20 weeks and it is over. Most of them then have to work other jobs and still train at the same intensity of an NFL or NBA player who is making much more and has time to dedicate solely to betterment.
Most Minor League Baseball players give hitting/pitching lessons in the off-season while also working part time jobs and living at home with their parents.
Lets succeed this struggle a little bit more and talk about the player who makes an MLB roster. Did you know that they pay about $13,000 a year in club fees? Then the 50% for taxes minus the loans that some took out so they could keep playing and they make maybe $150,000 for a job they commonly won’t have in 2-3 years.
NFL? Play for $400,000 dollars for 16 games. Anything else you get a per diem and aren’t really paid all that well. Covers food and a few minor expenses and that’s it.
I have had the chance of helping a number of people live out dreams and attack goals with a relentless pursuit for being better and striving for more. Shooting to be that professional and living the struggle.
They sweat in 100 degree heat, lift weights 4 or more times a week, practice their skills and never have a guarantee that they will have anything at all beyond today.
I see players spend 4 hours in a row working to get themselves better to get to the highest level and then have their talent be deemed “under” some desired line. It is hard not to beat your drum and support the player as best you can, but in the end, every athlete has the same story.
The ones who succeed and make it and the ones who barely miss are so similar it is scary. You see some kid an think, “Roster Fodder” and blow them off in your mind. You didn’t see the sweat and blood. You didn’t see them working the over night shift trying to make extra money so they could make it.
You didn’t see them eating free mints from a platter because they can’t afford lunch
Oh yes, the struggle is real.
Athletes act like they grind and strive and struggle and complain about unfair treatment but that is what life has in store for you. When we all get subtracted from the umbrella of our parents and live our lives you have what you make, not more.
Athletes realize these things faster than others. They are forced to. They can’t hold themselves in regard and complain of treatment because that only leaves you exhausted from battling life.
We all had a dream.
I hear people talk about how they could go pro, or they could do this and I laugh. Commonly I will say, the best athletes in the world make it look so easy that everyone thinks it is possible.
You however couldn’t survive the struggle.
It’s why you didn’t make it.
Dad used to say, life is a war of attrition, it isn’t who makes the big move but the guy who avoid messing up.
We all battle it. The attrition rate in life is high. Most fall off at a level that is dictated by their comfort. I work with people who push passed comfort daily.
The struggle is real.
It is real because the dream we had seemed so attainable that athletes will push passed mental breakdowns that are worse than any physical one you could create. I have found out what the struggle is, I have found out what being professional really means at the end of the day.
It’s how you deal with the failure. How you shake off the torment of missed achievement. How you move passed where others say stop to a place where you doubt you belong. The voice speaks and you either listen or fight it.
So how do you go pro, how do I make it to the next level and the next.
Push harder than anyone else you know
Believe in yourself more than you believe in the sun
Listen to the people who know more
Block out the people who fell to fear before you.
We only get one chance to make a mark on anyone in our lives, the years will pass and the story will be written. I get to help tell peoples stories by building them to defeat challenges and conquer life.
I struggle to tell them when the struggle has won.