Saturday, May 31, 2014

A Dangerous Game

What makes people who have everything going for them, risk the possibility of losing it all?  I'm interested in athletes who have millions on the table, only to squander it by unwise choices.  I'm going to eliminate the extreme example which would be Aaron Hernandez because clearly there's more going on there than just making poor decisions.  Yesterday we learned about the year suspension for the Arizona Cardinal's Daryl Washington for another violation of the NFL's substance abuse policy.  Now whether smoking pot should warrant a year's suspension is a whole other matter in itself, but why would someone take that risk?  We saw it with Josh Gordon as well, a guy on his way to being one of the top receivers in the league, now in danger of missing the entire season as well because of smoking pot.  These are star players with previous violations who now lose a precious year in their already short lifespan of being in the NFL.  So why do athletes like Gordon and Washington continually make poor decisions?  Stupidity is too easy an explanation.  They didn't get where they are today by being stupid.  Perhaps it's helpful to look at the qualities that are needed to be a good football player.  There's the given which includes athleticism but how about the ability to play with reckless abandon?  The great linebackers throw themselves into the middle of the action looking to blow up a play.  Receivers can not play with the fear of getting hit when they go across the middle into the mouth of the defense.  This same disregard for consequences does not work outside the field of play.  The same qualities which make a great player on the field will doom him off if he's not able to separate the two.  Most learn how to switch it off and on.  The few that don't are playing a dangerous game.