Saturday, September 09, 2006

whats wrong with with athletes?

Saturday (and Sunday, Monday, generally Tuesday, Wednesday during basketball season, and always Thursdays, with a lot of Fridays in there, too, not counting Pay Per Views) are generally pretty darn good sports days. Last I looked, Texas was gettin' pretty much stomped, and Tony Stewart had been cut out of the chase. Michigan won big. The WNBA is finally done so I don't have to worry about seeing that trainwreck any longer. If I wanted to see hoops with 4" vertical leaps I'd go down to the Y and watch the kids run.

But amongst all this great sport action are reports of athletes screwing up. David Boston got cut. No reason given, but I'm sure its the same reason that got him traded from every other team he's been on. T.O. is getting into the same crap he was doing in Philly, which got him sent packin' from there. On The Ultimate Fighter, Jeremy Jackson got himself thrown out of the house-and the whole competition-which ends his shot at getting paid and getting a title shot.

I don't claim to be all that mentally tough, but I have decent amount of it. I'm not an athlete anymore, but there are still things I do well that get me paid. So what I don't understand is how supposed professionals can just throw away the one thing that sets them up for life.

A pro athlete generally has about a ten year career, if things go their way and they don't have career ending injuries. That's a pretty lucky guy that gets to do it for that long, and doing it any longer than that is really, really special. I still don't understand how it is The Rocket is still pitching at the level that he is. He's certainly making the most of his ability. Why is it so dang hard to put the idiocy behind ya to get your job done and make it possible to set yourself up for life?

If you're going to just HAVE to act the fool, why can't you wait until your career is done and the world doesn't care so much if you're an moron anymore? What's so difficult about that? I understand playing hurt and I understand that to do those jobs means that you have a lot of pressure and pain. However, you chose to do it! I really don't get it.

To punctuate the point, let me explain what Jeremy Jackson did to get booted off the show. For a change of pace, the fighters were taken to the local Y to do some swimming, play some basketball...whatever they wanted to do to break up the routine of going to the same gym and doing the same training. Jackson met a lifeguard there, and to make a long-ish story short, he arranged for her to meet him at the house. The rules are: no leaving the house without authorization (which means "go to the gym for training and fights, and go to the hospital if its required") and no guests. What does he do? He jumps over the back fence-seen on camera, of course-to meet up with this girl for one night. This was two weeks into the six week time in the house. He gets booted off the show for it. The kicker here is that for the past several months, he's been living out of his car. His rationalization? "I just wanted to spend some time with someone female. The house is all guys." All he had to do was last four more weeks. Now it'll be one heck of a long time before he gets any shot at the UFC, and he'll probably never be back there again. All because he lacked the fortitude to hold out just six weeks.

Somebody please put the world on a platter for me for a decade. I've been working my butt off since 1986, and the world still isn't mine. If I can put myself into projects that don't pay as much as pro sports do, and still work on 'em for years at a time. I guess I simply don't understand how someone can have a perishable talent, and either lacks the mental toughness or will to take advantage of it. All ya gotta do is show up, put the work in, and get it done. Save being a jerk or whatever else your problem is for later. It just makes the rest of us mad to see you blow it when we know the same chance isn't squandered on everyone else.

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