Well that time of year has come and gone again where young super freak athletes built like Skynet T-800's parade around a field made of artificial green being told when to jump, when to run and how fast to do it, it's the human "Best in Show". Whoring what's left of their athletic talents at the 2010 NFL Combine, after the good Old Collegiate Mob and Shady Booster Dons have already slutted out their talents for billions of that new, funny looking money in exchange for buffet type meals, warm up sweats advertising the schools name (free walking ad space), a few girls who give them an early dose of how addicting fame can be, and an education that most of them never even get. All for the sake of wanting to do what they Love, "Play," buy Mom and Big Momma that dream home down the street from the hood and to be able to trade in the lemon that barely made it to each and every one of their Pop Warner and high school games for the German experience, a Mercedes Sl v12, with heated leather, navigation and wood grain. Oh and let's not forget do a little splurging on themselves, not limited to, but exhausting a few G's; making it rain inside clubs, normal or nude, or mining a neck, wrist or mouth full of those blingy things.
After watching this years future Monday Night prospects push themselves to be valued high in the eyes of those who crunch the numbers and determine these Gridiron Cyborgs' worth based on pre-written guides, like some sort of NFL Kelley Blue Book; how old they are, their weight, height, how fast they run the 40, and how long they'll last in a game where every time they touch the field it is like being in mini car accidents. Where each down played is an investment made in the bank of "Brain damage," which I guess turns out to be a much better diversified portfolio than being bankrupt vegetables, "Spine or the Mind, Mind or the Spine?"
There are only two activities that take place over the six days, the personal interview and the drug testing that I midgetly agree with. Contradicting myself just for a brief moment and tapping into my own inner business man, I can kind of understand owners wanting to know what they're investing in, but even that concern has its limits to me because that's what behavior clauses in contracts are for, "Behave or don't get paid." Sad thing is most of the players invited will probably never even make it out of the Combine to become household names, only to be written off as just clunkers, never getting a chance to earn any of the cash, which is why some, I guess, invitees take their chances by not even attending. Critics or experts, experts or critics say it's a risky move when it comes to how high a player drafts. But I like the gamble just for the principle "Draft me for what I've done already and let me finish proving while you're paying me," that's one hell of a poker face.
I wonder though, do other professionals like doctors or lawyers endure this same kind of exploited obstacle course after they've already proven themselves worthy by finishing med school or passing the bar? I know in every industry or on every job there is competition to remain and exist, but usually it's that way once you're already a part of the team; getting paid, competing to remain a part of the team all while continuing to be paid right?
I mean are med students put in a surgery room the size of an arena with other med students and timed on how fast they perform an open heart surgery? Or are Law students put in a courtroom to see how many witnesses they can break in a day? How well they studied and what ivy league school they obtained their degree from is often enough to pave their way. If I'm not mistaken, medical students are paid minimal salaries while they do their residencies and the same goes for Law students when they're legal assistants. The outcome of their careers rest solely on their shoulders, it's up to them how long they burn the oil in the libraries studying. Which is the equivalent to a student athlete eating right, daily weight room workouts, staying out of trouble (which still bugs me to why it's so important for athletes to be held to that standard and not other elected "Role Models") and avoiding all foul play
i. e., drugs and steroids. But yet they don't get paid for this same focus and discipline as their fellow future professionals. And if a player does decide to partake in the fruits of their labor and accept bags full of cash gifts it is a violation, in comes the banishing, quickly ruining their future which is why I again respect the athlete who decides not to attend; "You can't win for losing," so play how you wanna play and at your own risk.
I must say the whole process seems a little slavish. All that's missing is some Massa looking man examining their nude frames, stretching and opening their jaws just to show how strong their teeth are in front of an audience full of pale, sun stressed looking potential buyers and owners, while rapidly shouting out prices for their stock, "45,55,65 Sold!" Now some would argue, "No one is twisting their arms," well maybe not someone, but life sure is.
Life has them hostage and ain't no negotiating. Rent, gas and lights keep their hands bound and demand to be paid. Then let's not forget about family, close and extended who depend on them to feed the whole nest. Family is the hybrid beggar, a cross between the IRS and a disgruntled ex wife, "They want more than half" of what you worked so hard for, which is a special kind of pressure in itself because they never want to be the warrior who let the village down, leaving them with a smeared name, "Aww he really changed." But none of what I just said should even be an argument because the truth is they are future professionals who have worked just as hard as other future professionals and should be able to step through the same doors without having to build the same door over and over again before they walk through it.
When the ink on the headlines dries, A "Riser" or "Faller," one of the two titles will be the Sir that stands before each of the young athlete's name. It's not my birthday, but I wish I were in charge of passing out the sir names because they'd all be Risers to me, just for making it this far.