by Rob Loeber
What would you do for a dream? How far would you go to achieve a lifelong goal?
Those are the questions thousands of athletes ask themselves every single day. From Alaska to Maine and all points in between, minor league and semi-pro players are making enormous sacrifices to stay on the field, rink, or court.
This recession has hit America hard over the last few years, but economic struggles are nothing new for the players who toil in obscurity and put their bodies on the line for very little reward.
The Tulsa Talons play in the Arena Football League and the average Talons’ player takes home $400 per week. That adds up to $7200 for a complete 18-game season. These are men with college degrees. Most of them have families but most of them don’t have second jobs because of the time required for practice, travel, and games.
What would you do for a dream? Would you walk away from the cushy desk job and the 401k package to throw yourself full-speed at another human being for 400 bucks?
I asked one Talons player why he does it. “I love football,” he told me. “I can’t imagine giving this up.”
The Talons players have almost no chance of ever making an NFL roster, but out there on the practice field they were smiling and laughing throughout every drill and after every play. They looked joyful. They looked like kids. How many of us can say our jobs make us feel like kids again?