One of the themes of this blog is that as difficult as it is to earn a toehold in the football business, it’s harder to leave it. The one thing I always say is that most people leave the football world feet first. They never walk away. They leave after a divorce, or a bankruptcy, or litigation, and they often still wish they didn’t have to, even if they failed miserably.
Case in point. A few years ago, a young man from the Southeast got certified, and for the two years he was in the game, he was full-throttle all the way. He quit his job and spent the money he had saved (plus a lot more) pursuing players and really trying to make it in the game. He wound up selling assets he had simply so he could afford training for long-shot players, and he made several bad investments because he trusted the wrong people to help him. There were many times that he called me after making these investments, and after a long sigh, I’d scold him (gently), wondering why he didn’t learn last time.
Eventually, he did learn. He became intensely soured on the game, and his passion turned to hatred. He even began to send me links to books about the savagery of the game and how it fed many societal problems. Still, when a couple of the people he came in contact with showed up on tonight’s episode of The Agent, I texted him. I figured he’d remember me, but I figured the fire wouldn’t be there anymore, and I thought he’d shrug off my text, politely demurring.
I was way wrong. At the mention of the names on the show, my friend’s first question was, “What have they done? Are they using my name for anything?” Once I assured him this wasn’t the case, my friend started with the descriptions. “An honest nice guy” who “genuinely wants to help kids make it” was his assessment of one of them, but he called the other one “a crook, a thief” who “attempted to sell me access to the Clemson locker room.” My friend also called him a “complete a______e” who “tried to physically intimidate me at a lunch and I almost pulled out a knife. . . in fact, I think I explicitly stated that if you try to intimidate me again, I was going to pull out my knife.”
My friend then excused himself. “Got a lunch date. Kinda lost, ttyl,” he texted me, and I figured that was it. “Good luck!” I texted him back.
But a couple minutes later, my friend was back, sending multiple lengthy texts. Though he praised one of the people I’d asked him about, he accused the other of peddling influence and other highly questionable activities. Finally, he closed with, “Gotta run, hope ur doing well also.”
But soon he was back again with another paragraph. I didn’t engage him, knowing he had to go. But it became clear to me that he still hadn’t lost the passion.
It’s a cliche, but it’s true: the harder you fight for something, the harder it is to surrender. It’s clear my friend still had plenty of fight in him. If you decide to make a serious run at this business, you’re going to find it a habit that’s hard to break.
Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter if you don’t already. I’ll be providing a running commentary during tonight’s show (10E/9C), and we’ve got some good stuff ready to roll. Catch you tonight.