Playing under the big lights is a dream for almost anyone who’s ever tossed a ball, but what if playing at the highest level wasn’t all it's cracked up to be? Would it make you feel better about never making the bigs because of that lingering knee injury (always that gosh-darn knee injury)? Well, we know it makes us feel better, and since that’s the only reason why we do anything at all, here are a few reasons why not making the 11PM SportsCenter may actually be a good thing.
1. Your body gets ruined.
Even if you don’t ever wind up on the ass-end of a Joe Theismann-like play (don’t YouTube that, seriously, it’s as bad as you remember), your body will suffer excruciatingly for your entire life post-retirement, which can be a really long time. Football is the most obvious example, with the league at a crossroads over the brain injuries that are plaguing retirees, but you don’t need to constantly bang your brain against things to ruin your body. As a pitcher, your career hangs on a tiny ligament in your shoulder that you routinely stretch to its limit. It only takes one bad cut in basketball to tear a knee ligament that could end your season and maybe even your chance at staying in the league. As for hockey? Those guys fly around on ice, smashing each other into glass, and wearing knives on their feet. Care to guess what the likelihood of injury is in a sport like that?
2. You might go broke.
You’ve undoubtedly written off athletes for overspending to the point of bankruptcy, but in reality, the causes may have less to do with Lambos and Cristal than we thought. (Except for you, Vince Young. Your downfall had everything to do with Lambos and Cristal. And T.G.I. Friday’s.) It’s been suggested that the very same wiring that makes you good at being an athlete can also make you bad at managing money. And for every legit professional money manager out there, there are 10,000 people that want to rob you blind - so, trust is a bit of an issue. Hey, maybe James Brown had it right.
3. You don’t get any respect unless you win.
LeBron James has been the best player in the NBA for a long time. Probably since his rookie year in 2004. He didn’t win his first title until 2012. In his eight-year reign of being a championship-less star, his legitimacy was constantly questioned. Even when he was the MVP – meaning he was literally the best player in basketball – the lingering doubt in regards to his legacy without a title was still being raised (or really, discussed to death). So before you get all high and mighty about what an asshole he is for “The Decision,” maybe look into the machine that gave him ZERO props before he was able to land a ring.
4. Your hours are shitty.
Say goodbye to your nights and weekends. If it’s not the offseason, you’ll either be practicing, at a game, or on the eve of one (and people tend to frown on not getting adequate rest). Even if you are able to avoid the scrutiny of pregame partying, breaking curfew can cost you thousands of dollars and playing time. Remember when that used to just cost you a week’s worth of your shitty allowance?
5. You have to move all the time.
Only players like LeBron (really, just only LeBron) get to choose where they want to play. Most athletes grind out a spot in whatever shithole city will have them, and most pro sports teams are located outside of major metropolitan areas (read: where fun things happen). How exciting do you think Jacksonville is when you don’t know anyone or anything there? And just when you start to find your way around the greater Jacksonville area and all its amazing Applebee’s locations, you'll probably get traded to the frozen tundra of Green Bay. Oh, and you have to be there BY TOMORROW. Hope you have a ski jacket, broseph.
Photos by EPA / CJ Gunther / Landov