By Dan Williams @Dan_Wi11iams on June 5, 2014
When you're a kid, growing up to be a professional athlete is one of the most dreamed about professions. For some, being a professional athlete comes easy — especially if you are a top athlete in your sport. However, being a professional athlete can also be a burden on those involved. Here are ten reasons why being a professional athlete may not live up to the glory you've dreamed about.
If you’re a successful professional athlete, then you probably have a home that has far too many bedrooms, a pool or two, basketball courts, tennis courts, or maybe even a judicial court. All that is great when you’re trying to display your wealth, but what about your heating/cooling and electricity bills? If you have the funds to build a 28,000 sq. ft home like Michael Jordan, you’ll be paying some big numbers each billing cycle.
When you’re a professional athlete, you’d better have your stealth outfit ready if you plan on grabbing a bite to eat. These days, athletes’ faces are all over screens; whether it's television, internet, or mobile phones, fans are able to get an up-close look at their favorite star making it easier than ever for an athlete to be recognized when going to the grocery store. If a fan asks for an autograph, be prepared for a snowball effect.
Like spending time with your family on Christmas or Thanksgiving? For the everyday person, those are times when we get together to continue family traditions or catch up with those whom you haven’t seen recently. For professional sports leagues, these holidays are prime for maximum viewership so athletes had better be ready to perform. As an athlete, of course you don’t have an 8-5 job; you’ll be expected to work nights and weekends.
Have a twitter or facebook account? Be prepared to receive annoying or threatening messages through these social media sites. The worst part is that the people behind the accounts are typically fans of you or the team you play for. Social media is where you’ll see overzealous fans overstepping boundaries in that they will threaten or berate you with foul language and name-calling.
Tony Romo is one of the most polarizing figures in professional sports today. When Romo signed a 6-year 8 million contract with the Cowboys last year, many thought this was too much money for a quarterback who hadn’t achieved much throughout his career. Romo’s been solid for Dallas, but media pundits were some of the harshest pertaining to whether Romo deserved the extension based on his perceived ability to perform in the “clutch”.
If you’re like Octavio Dotel, you’re used to traveling and setting up shop in a new city frequently. Dotel holds the MLB record for most teams played for at 13. For Dotel, there was a span where he was moving two or three times per year, which is something that could take a toll on a person, even if they are a professional athlete and are being paid a hefty amount of money. Moving so much can take its toll on a family that's constantly uprooted.
Breaking into professional sports is hard enough, but maintaining a lengthy career as a professional athlete can be even tougher. In professional sports, competition is fierce, and only those who display the necessary attributes to positively impact the team are able to sustain a career in professional sports. Some, including Ricky Williams, are no longer high on the game.
Much like being recognized, being a professional athlete means that you are constantly in the public eye. Johnny Manizel hasn’t played a down in the NFL, but the decisions he’s made have been scrutinized to the point where its debated whether he would rather party than learn the Cleveland Browns’ playbook. Manziel is young; he’ll learn that as pro athlete it’s better to lay low, allowing some of the attention to drift in other directions.
Right now, the most popular battle in sports is between the NFL and its former players, many of whom have been suffering from continuous brain trauma. However, the wear and tear is not only an issue with the brain; athletes like Earl Campbell are forced to use wheelchairs or a walking aid after they’ve succumbed to the beating their bodies have taken from their years of play.
The rise from amateur to professional athlete is life altering. Too often we see players’ careers cut short due to their inability to adjust to the speed of the game. Without a backup plan in mind, these players are left with little currency. We’ve also seen instances where a player isn’t cautious with their money, becoming an ATM to family and friends. Andre Rison earned over million throughout his career, but today he's worth only ,000.
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