Monday, December 14, 2009

What We Do

I’ve watched a lot of football over the past few weeks so I’m thinking about football.

Football players wreck their bodies and put them through incredible punishment for what? They usually begin playing as children and those with talent are encouraged early. By middle—school they’re playing on a team. Most of them, if they don’t get hurt, play in high school. But only a few will get scholarships to play in college and only a very few will get scholarships at major universities. Out of those, a tiny fraction will be legally paid, will make it to the pros. The chances, I’m told, of playing pro football are one in a million. And those few who make it will play for an average of three years. Almost all players will be finished as a player by the time they’re in their early thirties. (Say yahoo, authors, because we can write until taking our final breaths).

So what about this? Why do they do it? For some there’s the possibility of the escape from poverty, the lure of girls, the chance for fame and riches. Everyone has a mix of motives for pursuing something that takes singular dedication and sacrifice. But I think most of them do it for one main reason and it’s the same reason writers write and actors act and painters paint. Love. How many people love what they do? A big part of who we are is what we do, and yet most people don’t love what they do. It’s worth a lot of struggle and heartache and pain, physical or other, to find the thing you love to do and do it.

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