4.23.2009

Lure of the Draft: Passion Is a Sight Unseen




Saturday is the day former student athletes in college football finally reach the big show. But does it really matter when they get picked? Sure in terms of payroll, but do these individuals enter the draft only for money? I hope if that’s the case they are injured within a week and career over.

The passion of the game should be what dominates a player’s decision to enter the draft. If Matthew Stafford is not picked as number one will it be the end of his life? No, it most definitely will not be. The draft is not what defines a player! It is his attitude and thrill of the game that he participates.

Ernie Banks signed with the Chicago Cubs, not drafted, but always held the phrase “let’s play two.” Is this passion what teams look for in a draft? The answer is no. When Matt Stafford gets picked most likely as the first overall pick will he show the same passion as recent rookie of the year Derrik Rose? In my mind, passion is what it takes to excel in whatever game you wish to compete.

Stephan Curry announced today his submission to the NBA draft this year. Because of his profound scoring record in the NCAA, he will likely be a lottery pick. Personally, I do not see him performing well in the NBA due to his size, but whether he proves me wrong or not, I cannot fault him for the passion he brings to his game. Making that last second shot, hitting that walk off double, and kicking that field goal with no time left is what should drive athletes into performing at the top of their level. It should not be about the money as they move up through the ranks.

The individuals that can perform at this level seemingly deserve what they are paid, but what keeps you going as your ability falters? Jim Edmonds, near the end of his career, signed a contract with the Chicago Cubs last year. With his help he led them to a playoff run, all while he was less than par in terms of his ability. I have seen him hit clutch hits year after year while part of the Cardinals, but as a Cub he showed that will and drive to succeed despite his age. He was paid near the league minimum, but his passion for the game is what brought him to Chicago.

If there is anything else that drives a professional athlete I believe they should reconsider their career decision, but so many athletes these days are stopping their college education to go pro and they miss out on the education that is so important in today’s society. Brian Barton of the Atlanta Braves is near a degree in aerospace engineering a career that has no distinct end in sight, yet he plays the game because it is what he loves to do.

There is no more pure reason behind playing the game than the passion that brings you to the field every day. I feel arbitration hearings should be made useless and for the best athletes to reconsider their reasoning behind playing the game. Because once the free agent market of all professional sports begins to drop, passion is what will bring players to the drafts and free agency markets.


Photo: Charlotte Communities Online

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