Thursday, December 15, 2016

Back it up

It's not about the money.

Sure, Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys is earning $8.5 million this season for playing backup quarterback and not playing. He was injured in a pre-season game and only recently returned to the lineup, and he has an excellent seat on the bench to watch as Dak Prescott, a rookie no one heard of until he was forced to play for Romo, has led the team to their best season since Cowboys rode real horses.

At first, while Romo healed his aching vertebra, the Cowboys' owner, Jerry Jones, averred that Romo was still going to be the starter when he was able to play, but as Prescott starred in game after game, it became clear that he would remain the starter. Romo gave a very gracious statement in a press conference, acknowledged Prescott's primacy, and is seen on the sidelines during games, wearing a baseball cap and offering support to the team.

Which brings me to my thought for the day.

There are 32 teams in the National Football League, and every one of those teams employs a backup quarterback.  In some cases, it's a rookie or second-year guy who is projected to become a starter some day. Some teams hire a worn-out veteran who's been around forever but can still perform in a pinch.

My thought is, how must it feel to be the backup? These are guys who have been the star athlete in their family, neighborhood, school, county and, sometimes, state, all their lives.  Greatness, fame and fortune were predicted for them.  And now they practice during the week and watch on Sunday.  How does it feel to have talent and experience and not use them?

Now, before you weep and wail for the likes of Brandon Weeden (Texans), Derek Anderson (Panthers) and Matt McGloin (Raiders), remember they all make a pretty dollar for not playing, and even have free parking at the stadium on Sunday.  So weep not.  I just wonder how it feels to ALMOST make the top spot and have to be content on the second rung.

As further proof that I have nothing better to woolgather about, I also wonder how it feels to have been The Best Singer in youth choir, high school chorale, and college Glee Singers, only to find oneself singing "Eight hundred five eight eight, two three hundred...EMPIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRE!" on a carpet jingle instead of being the singer of classic American tunes such as "Hallelujah."

Image result for career path
Which track to take?
Maybe I shouldn't even think about it. Maybe the JingleAires all make wonderful salaries and are even happier to get to sing without all the silly public acclaim that comes with singing Leonard Cohen songs.   No one knows what kind of nutty trajectories their career paths will take once they leave the starting gate.  

If anyone would like to apply to be the backup writer for this blog, by all means, let me know. You would be paid exactly one half of what I earn. 

That's it.  You'd be paid half of zero.  But we'll have fun!

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