The longest months of my life were spent on my grandfather’s couch. Fortunately I had a bed to sleep in at night but the majority of my waking hours were spent on a couch in the basement. I remember plugging the power cord for my laptop into an extension cord and spending countless hours putting in job applications. Day after day I went through the same routine. I searched the internet for job openings in my field. I answered the same questions over and over again. I anxiously waited on my phone to ring. The process seemed like it was never ending. Up until this point in my life success had come easily to me. I took an enormous amount of pride in the fact that I was a former Division 1 athlete. I had just wrapped up an amazing internship with an NBA franchise. I recently obtained a master’s degree. I felt as if nothing was impossible. I was positive that employers would come begging me to accept a job offer just as the coaches who were relentless while recruiting me. What I saw unfolding in my mind verses what actually happened were polar opposites. For the first time in my life I was in a situation where no one cared about my athletic ability. The one thing that carried me this far seemed as if it was no longer relevant.
The frustration I felt made me reconsider everything. I wondered what I could have done differently. The country was in a recession and jobs were somewhat hard to come by, but I was noticing an interesting trend. My college classmates who didn’t play sports were much better prepared for life after college. Many of them spent three or more summers interning with different companies. Some had even accepted full time positions before entering graduate school. My reality was that I had a resume full of nothing! Being the team captain and making the all conference team didn’t help me land a job offer. No matter how I tried to dress it up I couldn’t hide the fact that I spent my summers working retail jobs so that I could have flexibility in my schedule to workout. My experience in stocking shelves was not very beneficial as I searched for an entry level accounting position. I had spent a lot of time in the gym perfecting my craft when I should have dedicated some time to preparing for the real world.
Yes I had skills. I was a hard worker. I worked well with a team. I understood how to communicate effectively. The truth is that I did not position myself to be successful once basketball was over. If you are still playing you need to start considering what you can do to avoid spending an extended period of time on someone’s couch. If your playing days are over and you are reading this from someone’s couch the good news is that it will get better. You are more than an athlete! You have something amazing to offer the world. You just have to keep moving forward. Even if that means you have to start by crawling, do it. Stay encouraged. If I can get off the couch you can too. In some cases, your couch might not be a physical couch. A couch can represent something that was once comfortable but has grown to become a crutch that prohibits you from becoming the best version of yourself. Too much time spent on the couch isn’t good for anyone. At some point you have to get up and do something productive. Maybe you are reading this in the break room on a job that you settled for and you have grown to strongly dislike. Maybe you are wondering if you will ever feel the fulfillment you felt as a student athlete. Again, I would advise that you take some time to consider what you can do to change your situation. The ball is in your court. What will you do with it?
Until next time,