A Pre-Season Football Story I will be Following

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Richard Hershberger

Richard Hershberger is a paralegal working in Maryland. When he isn't doing whatever it is that paralegals do, or taking his daughters to Girl Scouts, he is dedicated to the collection and analysis of useless and unremunerative information.

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  1. Avatar Michael Cain
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    says:

    Personal anecdote on specialization… When I was in my 20s, I found that playing slow-pitch softball a couple of times per week messed with my golf game and vice versa. It seemed to me that all of the small differences in when the different body parts moved in the two swings had an effect on my muscle memory. Part of it was, no doubt, that a modern golf swing is one of the most unnatural motions in sports.

    As an aside, paragraphs do help somewhat with readability.Report

    • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to Michael Cain
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      says:

      Sorry about the paragraph breaks. I don’t know why, but about a third of the time when I paste my post into Word Press the paragraph breaks disappear. I didn’t catch it this time. I have put them back in, apparently successfully.Report

  2. Avatar greginak
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    says:

    Eric Heiden was an Olympic multi gold medal speed skater and world champ. He swept the medals in the 1980 Olympics. After he was done speed skating he became a successful road cyclist.

    A couple of asides. His achievement was far greater than the US upset of the USSR in hockey. Oh that was nice, but Heiden was superhuman. Also since he quit being a pro athlete he has become a doctor. So he is a bit of an achiever and a busy guy.Report

  3. Avatar nevermoor
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    says:

    Two reactions:

    1. My team has an interesting story! I bet he’s the best part of a 4-12 season.
    2.

    The most notable attempt was Michael Jordan’s ill-starred foray into professional baseball. He never got past AA-level in the minors, where he batted a measly .202.

    That’s being very unfair to Jordan. He played ONE professional season (in AA, which is far from nothing) after not playing since HS. And improved significantly over the year.Report

    • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to nevermoor
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      says:

      Perhaps it is unfair, but don’t blame me. Jordan could have stuck with baseball. Yes, the stated reason for leaving baseball was the players’ strike and Jordan not wanting to be a replacement player. I don’t buy it. He could have returned to the minors and continued his development. But he decided to return to the NBA. And why not? Being the best of the best has got to be a whole lot more fun than struggling in the minors. (As a side note, in reviewing the Wikipedia page on the strike, I was charmed to find that it was ended via an injunction from Sonia Sotamayor, then a district judge in New York: yet another reason to like her!)

      Hayne has an even tougher standard. Jordan had the pull to get a minor league roster spot independent of any serious expectation he would develop into a major leaguer, and baseball’s minor league system of development allowed for this. Hayne has to get on the roster based on this summer’s training camp. I suppose it is possible that if he is cut, some other team might pick him up. My guess is that he would go back to Rugby.Report

  4. Avatar Kazzy
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    says:

    Antonio Gates played high school football and was recruited for college football but ended up playing basketball. He went undrafted and then signed with the Chargers and now holds a number of team records.

    Jimmy Graham played college basketball and then did one year of football while completing some graduate work. He is one of the best TEs in the game.Report

  5. Avatar Slade the Leveller
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    says:

    49ers QB John Brodie had a moderately successful career on the PGA senior tour.Report

  6. Avatar greginak
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    says:

    @richard-hershberger I wonder how the average career length between an NFL RB vs a Rugby player fits in. Most NFL RB’s don’t have long careers unless they are very good and are lucky enough not to get injured. Do you know how long rugby players typically play for?Report

    • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to greginak
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      says:

      Not a clue. Good question, though.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Slade the Leveller
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        says:

        Thanks. Interesting. Seems a longer average career than in the NFL but many of the same problems adjusting to life after being a pro.Report

        • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to greginak
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          says:

          I think the adjustment problems are probably inherent in any sport, especially team sports. You have some kid who has spent his entire life working single-mindedly toward the goal of becoming a professional athlete, has beat the odds and become one of the elite. His teammates are his emotional support structure, while the front office provides a lot of practical day to day help. Nearly all his life is daily routine was all about getting ready for the next game. Then suddenly there is no next game, there are no teammates, and he has to figure out how to get through the day. On top of it all, most journeyman athletes haven’t earned enough money to support themselves and their families the rest of their lives, but what marketable skills do they have?

          Oh, and the new retiree is probably about thirty years old. Thirty is when the rest of us are finally figuring it out. We didn’t know shit when we were twenty, but at thirty we are finally getting a grip on things, while body parts haven’t yet started falling off. The ex-professional athlete was a god at twenty. He didn’t know shit either, but it didn’t matter, and he didn’t have to try to figure things out. Then at thirty his body is already following apart, he still doesn’t know shit, and he is some guy who used to play sports.

          We see the stories about retired athletes who made millions and are dead broke a few years later. Poor financial management skills are certainly a big part of the problem. But the bigger part is suddenly having to live in the real world with the rest of us.Report

          • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Richard Hershberger
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            says:

            I think there is also the fact that for pretty much every day in their working memory, they were obscenely good at something. Part of the elite of the elite of the elite of the elite. I think it is probably hard to do ANYTHING else at a substantially lower level after that.

            Which is why so many don’t seem to do anything else for a while afterward and, as you note, end up broke (though the financial issues come from a number of areas of life).

            I can’t imagine going from being THE BEST at something celebrated in society to being just another guy at something people are ‘meh’ about.Report

  7. Avatar James K
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    says:

    In the interests of disambiguation, I should point out that a Rugby League player shouldn’t really be called a rugby player. “Rugby” is the contracted form of Rugby Union, a related, but distinct sport to Rugby League. Rugby League is contracted to “League” so as to avoid confusion.Report

  8. Avatar Mike Schilling
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    says:

    Unfortunately Hayne is a 49ers, so he’ll probably be cut for repeated DUIs, spousal abuse, or substance abuse before he has a chance to master the on-field aspects of the NFL.Report

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