Doctor, Lawyer, NFL, NBA, Candlestickmaker

Want To be
July12/ 2017

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” has been asked of every boy and girl since the Dawn of Mankind or soon thereafter.

“Not something’s lunch” was #1 answer for the first few 1,000 years.

Today we put on our hip boots to wade in the Twin Swamps of Major College Sports… Football and Basketball.

I am rethinking my POV on the legitimacy of the academic paths trod by many/most “student-athletes” (cough, cough, wink, snort) matriculating at Power Five institutions of higher learning (more cough cough wink snort).

I, like some but not-all-of you, decry the abject hypocrisy of the student-athlete sham masking the odiousness of Big Time College Football and Basketball.  Getting more odious each year.

NOTE: We are NOT talking about fencing, acapella choir, or transgender crew which often include legitimate students. Students who use their laptops for purposes other than solitaire or porn and who use the campus library for purposes other than to pee or escape a sudden rain shower.

“Studies show” an abnormally high % of youngster attending Power Five institutions to play Football or Basketball do so with the sole aspiration that Football or Basketball will be their post-school vocation.

They will “major” in ____ball.  … NO PLAN B!

Put aside the needle-in-a-haystack odds of that pro sports career.

Put aside the odds of a serious injury during his college athletic career ending that dream.

Put aside that his athletic development “peaks” well below the elite level of a pro athlete.

That youngster dominated a Pop Warner league and/or hit a homer as a 9-y/o in Little League. He set his sights on “a pro sports career”.  Aspirations encouraged by his family, friends and community.

Put aside that “a pro sports career” lasts an average of 3-5 years if one is fortunate to have one at all. Extending that to 5-6 years… the thought of what about those next 50 years is a non-issue.

Make bazillions in those 5-6 years to tide one over for life? Alas “studies show” 70% of NFL / NBA “former players” are broke within two years of their playing career ending. Broke at 30 with zero marketable skills for any occupation beyond bodyguard for a famous rapper… bouncer at a strip club?

Let’s consider another demographic…

Consider the suburban middle class Cauc youngster who answers the “…. when you grow up?” question with Lawyer… Doctor… or Engineer…

Maybe a parent or relative is one or maybe he/she watches a lot of legal / medical TV shows. Whatever…

Maybe the prime reasons for both demographics choices are (1) they make a lot of money; and (2) society views those occupations as prestigious.

As with becoming a pro athlete, becoming a lawyer / doctor / engineer takes more than “I really want to be one”.

It requires an intellectual proficiency as well as stellar academic achievement… then the rigors of becoming professionally certified. The best of intentions and burnt midnight oil can still fall short.

Many a pre-med pre-dental major at UNCCH has fallen victim to Chem 11.

Many a want-to-be engineer at NCSU has been waylaid by Calculus.

That is why those hurdles are placed in their path early on. BE ADVISED: This academic road is HARD and UNFORGIVING!

OK:  Yes, I am skirting the fact that “rigorous preparation for self-sufficiency” is no  longer a concern at liberal arts colleges.  Their #1 priority is insuring lifetime dependency.  At STEM schools that, thankfully, is not the case.

Ravenel Bridge

If you can’t pass Calculus, can you redesign the Ravenel Bridge over the CooperRiver? …build a motherboard?

Is there much of a difference between a want-to-be MD and a want-to-be NFLer/NBAer arriving on campus full of piss & promise. Then realizing… it ain’t gonna happen?

Is “the difference” that the disappointed Not-a-Doctor / Not-a-Lawyer has fall back options due to a more all-encompassing education… than does the Not-a- pro athlete?

A Not-a-MD / Not-a-lawyer can fall back to teaching, accounting, banking, sales, corporate something, et al… tele-marketer?

The semi-literate Not-a-pro athlete with a bum knee and an unimpressive creampuff transcript falls back to…. bodyguard / bouncer.

Millionaire coaches treat their sport as the #1 priority for their recruited student-athletes. Their work-outs / practice are the equivalent of the pre-med pre-law student’s library / lab time.

The coaches know the slim odds of a “pro career”.

Mary Willingham knew those odds too. Mary Willingham simply wanted to be sure her tutored athletes COULD READ at a 9th grade level when they left UNCCH.

Be able to read would be the most basic of fall backs when their pro sports dream died… as 98% will.

Mary Willingham was cussed and run out of Chapel Hill for her concern.

Next month 1,000s of 18 y/o want-to-be pro athletes… want-to-be doctors… want-to-be lawyers will walk onto America’s college campuses to chase their dreams… and have Reality revise them.

And then fall-back to…


It has occurred to me that I cannot name ONE – not ONE – returning player on ANY ACC Football team. Including that Louisville QB that won the Heisman.

Blondie and I are scheduling our Fall beach trips. I never once checked any football schedules.  …

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