I was on the phone with a longtime friend last week who’s in the business. In the course of the conversation, he asked me if I’d seen the new movie, ‘Entourage.’ I told him I’d seen the show once, and wasn’t really into it. I kinda left it at that, but he persisted, and mentioned that one of the central characters in the story had some scenes that dealt with the sports and entertainment business, and they were pretty authentic.
Well, I’m still not seeing it. Here’s why.
I know this series has always been marketed as a sort of ‘insiders look at the entertainment industry,’ and I know there have been lots of walk-ons and cameos by athletes. I think the movie that’s out right now has a lot of the same thing. And who knows? Maybe a lot of it captures the feel of what it’s like at the billion-dollar level where the real titans play.
However, the episode I saw — and this had to have been 8-10 years ago — only superficially dealt with the business. It was really a lot more about four guys chasing girls, smoking joints together, whatever. Just sorta cruising through life, with a couple guys coat-tailing off their famous friends. Now, maybe there’s a lot more to the show than that, and I’m sure plenty of my readers are screaming at their screens right now, calling me names. But having gotten a sense of the marketing of the show, it seems like a rather fair assessment.
Well, here’s the thing. I guess lots of people aspire to an ‘Entourage’ lifestyle, and hope they can run in that crowd by making the same choices the characters in that series/film make. All I can say is, I haven’t seen it. The people I see that make it to the highest levels in football aren’t anything like that.
Forgive me if I sound like a tired old man, but the people I know in this business who are really succeeding never lived like that. They spent the days when their friends were messing around, blowing their time on mindless pursuits, on building a plan and pursuing it. Chasing goals. Making sacrifices. Fearing they wouldn’t succeed and breaking their backs to make it happen.
I remember when Roger Goodell was first named NFL Commissioner, his story of working his way up through the NFL offices became widely known, and it came out that he had started out as an intern, probably working for little pay or no pay and no promises. Back then, some idiot in the cybersphere wrote that hey, there was a time that the Commissioner of the NFL was probably sitting around, smoking a bowl with a bunch of roommates and trying to look busy when his boss was around, and that guy made it to the top! Another lottery winner who goofed off all the way to the highest seat in football!
Well, no he didn’t. I’ve never met Goodell and know nothing about him, but I can guarantee you he was intense, focused and hard-working on his way up. That’s what got him there. Mediocrity rules in modern society, but it never defined him.
I get emails, Tweets and Facebook friend requests from young people all the time, wanting to show me their work or seeking advice on the way forward. I never get the sense that they’re just laying back, waiting on stuff to happen. If you’re hoping to succeed in football, I hope you’re just like them, and not like any of the characters living misleading lives on some stupid TV show.