Monday, March 21, 2011

Football Players Are People Too

I almost spit out my granola this morning when I read this sentence in the sports section of the paper – “I tell guys,
Why do you need that $250,000 car? A Mercedes is a great car and it's $85,000. You can afford that on your salary.’ ” It seems the NFL player who made that statement has taken on the responsibility of advising his younger, less fiscally cautious teammates because of the anticipated NFL lockout. Or maybe it’s the current NFL lockout. Not that I care. I don’t usually read the sports page. I’m more interested in finding out what Dean Earl has screwed up this time or what words of wisdom I will hear from Lola

But today the “real” news section of the paper was so small I still had cereal in my bowl when I’d finished reading it so I was forced to move on to the sports section. And yes, my initial reaction after reading that sentence was total dumbfoundedness. But once I faced up to the fact that my reaction had been colored by an unfair prejudice against men earning millions of dollars just because they know how to eat gargantuan meals and throw a football, I was able to see the article for what it really was – a cry for help. It just breaks my heart to think about the humiliation an NFL player must feel when he is forced to squeeze his oil barrel-sized thighs and beer-keg-shaped belly into a measly Mercedes Benz. I can barely see through my tears to type these words.

I was thinking about the plight of the NFL players as I drove to work this morning. At first I didn’t think I had anything in common with them but the more I thought about it, the more I realized we are all much more alike than I first thought. Everybody needs to earn a living. Some of us earn it as millions of people watch waves of blubber while a dead pig part is chased down the field and some of us earn our living by using our bruised and swollen hands to make that very same dead pig part

Think about it. We are all human and we are all just trying to cope with these difficult economic times whether we are Mr. NFL or Mr. and Mrs. Typical American. All of us are all reaching deep down into our cores and making difficult choices.  Let me give you an example:

 Mr. NFL and Mr. & Mrs. Typical both need to take a break from the stresses in their lives.

How do they go about accomplishing this release from stress?

Mr. NFL has chosen to relieve his stress by taking a trip but he wants to economize just in case his unemployment continues longer than he would like. So after much inner turmoil he has decided that instead of visiting Paris he will take a vacation to Hawaii.

He normally rents a private jet but in the interest of economy, he has lowered his standards and will have his limousine driver drop him off at the private security area where he will force himself to mingle with the masses by flying in the first class section. (Now I don’t know for a fact there is a private security area, but I myself have never seen any NFL football players or movie stars or famous singers snaking through a security line and throwing their $1,095.00 Jimmy Choos into a plastic bin so I’m pretty sure it’s there somewhere.)

Mr. NFL would like to rent the penthouse, as is his custom, but he knows he should save money by selecting the lesser deluxe suite. His brow wrinkles as he deliberates between the penthouse or the suite, the penthouse or the suite. However, there are limits to the depths a person can go to save money and residing in a paltry suite, even for a mere two weeks, is more than he can face. He rents the penthouse.

Since Mr. NFL did not cut costs in his housing he decides to eat his meals with the everyday folk in the five-star restaurants. This economization will save him the cost of a private chef. That is not to say he will refrain from hosting parties at which time he WILL require not only the services of a private chef, but live music, champagne, premium beers and exotic hors d’œuvre served on sterling silver picks.

Mr. and Mrs. Typical would also like go away somewhere and, for a few days, put aside their daily worries and concerns. They’ve always wanted to see the lights of Las Vegas but they don’t have a lot of free time. They are rarely even home at the same time because they are trying to coordinate work hours to lessen daycare costs. On top of that, recently Mr. Typical began working two jobs to cope with unexpected medical expenses. Consequently, their trip will necessarily be limited to four days.

Unfortunately, they just spent the rest of their savings on last month’s heating bill which means there’s no money for a Greyhound ticket. They consider driving their 1999 Ford Focus but it has 225,000 miles on it and leaves a trail of stinky blue smoke on the days it actually starts. So even though the lights of Las Vegas are calling them, and they would love a few days away, after considering their available time and funds, they have chosen to have a staycation.

However, just because they aren’t leaving town doesn’t mean they can’t get away. They would like to rent a room at the local Super 8, take advantage of the free HBO, kick back and watch the movies they couldn’t afford to view at the local cinema. But just like Mr. NFL, they also need to make sacrifices, so they have opted to set up a tent in their backyard, rent a dollar movie from Red Box, and play it on the laptop they picked up at the local school excess sale two years ago.

The Focus would probably get them to the local Applebee’s for a nice dinner, but gas at the pump has gone up to nearly $4.00/gallon and the cost of a dinner at Applebee’s would pay for a portion of the cost of having Mr. Typical’s abscessed tooth pulled so they decide to build a campfire in the sandbox. And later, after they’ve eaten their fill of s’mores, just like Mr. NFL, they too will have a private party. They will pop a CD into the boom box, drink Bud Lite and roast weenies on whittled sticks.

So you see, we really are all alike.◦


Abby said...

"and roast weenies on whittled sticks"

Best part.

Al said...

Here I was thinking I could have a second career in football, but with such lack of job security and low wages I think I'll stick to my soon-to-be furloughed government worker bee drudgery.

Lesley Collins said...

They must not buy Subarus.

Art Elser said...

As one of the headlines I read said, "It's millionaires trying to negotiate with billionaires." I love your summation of the idiocy of the NFL "lockout."

What is even sadder is that Mr and Mrs Typical are willing to pay for season tickets that would, as Les suggested, probably make a substantial dent in the cost of a Subaru.

As a nation, we have raised the Brittany Spears, Lindsey Lohans, and sport icons to the level of gods and are willing to pay our hard-earned money to see them strut their stuff.

Maybe we deserve to be eating s'mores in a tent in the backyard and watching Netflix on an old laptop.

Art Elser said...
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