The odds of a boy having a career as a professional athlete are very small; and for a girl, the odds are infinitesimal. But that doesn’t make the pursuit of such a goal ridiculous.
First, there are good, healthy destinations shy of that goal that result in meaningful, satisfying sports-related careers ... coaching, athletic administration, sports broadcasting, sports medicine, officiating, for examples.
Second, dedication to such a goal can develop disciplines and habits that lead to a more productive life, regardless of the ultimate career path.
How ridiculous would it be in 1969 for a Canadian boy of nine to set the goal of becoming an astronaut? Canada didn’t even have a space program!
But that’s what Chris Hadfield did, and he discovered the goal provided direction to his life that was lacking before. He had a new lens for viewing life and his place in it.
In An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth (Little, Brown and Company, 2013), Colonel Hadfield writes: “Throughout all this I never felt that I’d be a failure in life if I didn’t get to space. Since the odds of becoming an astronaut were nonexistent, I knew it would be pretty silly to hang my sense of self-worth on it. My attitude was more, ‘It’s probably not going to happen, but I would do things that keep me moving in the right direction, just in case – and I should be sure those things interest me, so that whatever happens, I’m happy.’ ”
There is a commercial airing on television for an international real estate company that tells us to “dream with our eyes open.” That is good advice for youngsters who dream of playing sports at any higher level. Even if the dream is not realized – and it most likely will not be – the dream might help to produce life skills for a rewarding “Plan B.”