It’s Not All About the Money

I have to admit,

I never pay attention to news concerning how much money an athlete is receiving when he signs a new contract.

Players are getting millions of dollars, sometimes tens of millions in deals which boggle the mind of the average Joe. Fans seem to always wonder how a team can pay that kind of money? There are reasons I ignore the figures and move on to more interesting topics.

First of all, none of us ever really know the conditions of the deal. How much is guaranteed, and for how long. We don’t have any idea what “out” clauses a club may have. I know some of these facts are revealed, but who cares? As for the huge amounts, realize that if teams couldn’t pay it, they wouldn’t. In other words, sports teams bring in fortunes, some obviously more than others, but they can all handle payrolls to compete at some level.

However, the number one reason why salaries have no effect on me is because it actually doesn’t have an effect on the athlete as a performer.

Barry Bonds is returning to major league baseball this season as the hitting coach of the Miami Marlins. What he said on his first day on the job was something I’ve always believed. “People bring up salaries, and that’s a bunch of crap. It’s B.S. People need to throw that money thing into the garbage, because the guys love what they do.”

I know, the first thought is that, sure, if you’re making money in the stratosphere, of course it’s not something you think about. But what Bonds is saying goes far beyond that.

Professional athletes are the luckiest people in the world. They all started when they were kids playing games. Coming home after a day at Little League, or Pop Warner or the schoolyard and loving every minute of it. It continues into high school, college, the minor leagues etc. It goes all the way up to the big leagues. They love playing the games. In essence they are kids forever. Yes, their paychecks are huge, and remember their time can end suddenly.

But when you see a pro athlete on the field or on the court, or wherever, the last thing he is thinking about is how much money he’s making. He is saying to himself “I can’t believe, I’m still a kid loving what I do!”
And they never, ever want to think about the day it comes to an end.