We tend to elevate our major athletes, sometimes it seems even to the same level, or above, where we place our nation’s military. It's an easy mistake to make these days. Almost everyone has played sports, while a very small percentage of us have ventured to foreign lands in the name of freedom. Also, games are fun! War … not so much.
If we make the additional mistake of equating compensation with value, then there is a large discrepancy in our valuation of athletes over members of military. Athletes are compensated lavishly, while soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines risk their lives for a pittance.
But those who serve don't do it for the money. They do it because of duty. Which is what makes Boston College receiver Alex Amidon's choice to forego the NFL and pursue a career as a Navy SEAL so satisfying.
Amidon is projected to be a third day draft pick. Last year's first pick on the third, QB Matt Barkley, signed with the Philadelphia Eagles for a contract in the range of $2.5 million for four years with a $500,000 signing bonus. $500K is not too shabby when a 0-1 makes about $35,000 a year. Either way, it's more than what Amidon made playing football in college.
For all the fuss the NFL makes in depicting its games as "winner take all" contests, it's still only a game. When I played in high school, my dad, who was an active duty Marine aviator at the time, provided some helpful perspective when my team lost nine straight games my senior season. "No one’s getting shot at," he said.
The same went for Amidon and his career at BC. Amidon finished 11th in the nation in receiving in 2012, with 1,210 yards, and led the Eagles in receiving this year with 1,024 yards. He set BC’s all-time record for most receiving yards in a season and most receiving yards in a career, helped largely by his roommate, Heisman finalist Andre Williams.
Go get 'em, killer.