Winning the game of life

We hold sports figures in high regard in our society.

It’s all sports. Soccer fans worldwide celebrated Lionel Messi last December for helping Argentina win the World Cup. Throughout his career, the international star has earned $1.15 billion on and off the pitch, according to Forbes. He’s not the only one. Recently retired NFL quarterback Tom Brady managed to win seven Super Bowls in his career. He too has landed nicely. Forbes estimates that Brady got paid roughly $525 million over his 23 NFL seasons, $333 million from playing contracts and more than $200 million from his off-field efforts.

I love sports, but I tire easily of the hero worship. We should really be respecting the teachers, nurses, and social workers who provide the real value. My head spun last week though when I heard the news about Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Jalen Hurts.

Of course, I’m sure you saw it. He signed a five-year contract extension worth $255 million, briefly making him the NFL’s highest-paid player.

But that’s not the news that caught my eye. 

No, news outlets reported that Hurts, 24, had earned his master’s degree in human relations from the University of Oklahoma. Hurts started his college football career at Alabama, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in communication and information sciences after three years. When he transferred to Oklahoma to play his final year of college football in 2019, he began working on his master’s degree. Hurts completed his final two online courses — one in management and another in leadership — after the Eagles lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII.

Hurts has said in interviews that he was inspired to get his masters by his mother, who was a special education teacher, who went back to school when she saw a number of her colleagues get laid off. “She got her master’s to become a counselor,” Hurts told Essence in April. “That’s a living testimony for me.”

Yes, I hope Hurts one day in an Eagles uniform walks across the field with the Lombardi Trophy, but I have a ton of respect for him for making education a priority and walking across the dais with his diploma in his hands.

Now if we all held public service and education, in all it’s many forms, with the same respect, now that would be a winning touchdown throw worth celebrating!

Image by Pexels.

23 thoughts on “Winning the game of life

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  1. Agreed on all points. I think athletes are great because they can inspire a community to get together and youth, in particular boys, to seek greatness.

    But teachers and educators deserve more compensation for the life altering and enhancing work that they do. It says a lot about a society when the education system is either well funded or not.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. You are undeniably right in what you say. Sadly, so many high school athletes with athletic talents go to college not for the learning, but for the chance of having a pro team scout see/hear of his prowess on the football field and bump him up to the pro playing field. Meanwhile, their costs for college are paid and the poor student with an amazing brain and a desire to make the world better doesn’t get college paid for.

    We all agree, or say we agree, that athletes are paid far too much for what they do, but none of us is willing to boycott the sport because of the enjoyment we personally get from it. That means we are also a part of the problem.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yea, I don’t have solutions for those bigger problems and yes, I think college should be more affordable (I see it with my own kids in how out-of-this-world the costs are). I just thought that it was interesting that Hurts with everything he could be spending his time on – went back to further his education.


  3. Hey now…I LOVE all of the ‘get your education so you can give back’ vibes…and Hurts honoring his mama. I heard about the contract but didn’t catch this backstory about earning his Master’s and making that a priority. Good stuff! Thanks, Brian! 🥰

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I almost skipped this at the mention of sports, but I’m glad I didn’t. I’d never heard of Jalen Hurts before today, but he sounds like just the kind of person we, as a society, should be looking up to. Thanks for sharing, Brian!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. While I don’t follow sports at all I do have to think about all the people out there who are striving to further their education from behind a much simpler lifestyle. I admire the drive this heroic figure had to continue bettering himself, as well as his reasons for doing so. Yet to be honest Brian, from a socio-economic standpoint this person seems to have clearly been financially able to take this journey. Honestly, I would have passed this story over to be able to read of a regular kid working his butt off to earn his own degree. I truly believe in educational goals but so many struggle to make those goals happen. They deserve the great-job news stories I think.


    1. Yes, Hurts had the financial means to go back, but many like him oftentimes don’t. And yes, there are many who don’t have the financial means to pursue a good education. Oh, I’m well aware of that, especially with a son in college with plans to pursue a medical degree. The story that no one talks about is the high cost of education. And when we do talk about it, we get up in arms about the attempts to make it cheaper or to financially help those students. I probably couldn’t have found a better choice of stories, but I was just interested that someone who had a busy life, went back and got his masters. 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Honestly, Brian, I don’t care for most sports because of the ludicrous sum of money these people are paid to play a game, it’s offensive. The only sport that’s worth watching is hockey. Football, baseball, and soccer are so boring! 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t argue with you on the salaries. I don’t blame the players, it’s a free market system, someone is willing to pay them, but yes, I would much rather see the money go to people who deserve it. And yes hockey is a different game, but unfortunately it’s hard for many to follow the puck, so it doesn’t get the audience that the other sports do.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are so right about following the puck, Brian! It takes a bit of effort in the eyeball muscles to keep up with it. Apparently, gas prices and more aren’t high enough yet to dissuade folks from buying those high-dollar tickets. It’s cheaper and more comfortable to watch from home even though the stadium where the VGK play is only 30 minutes from my home. Cold beer is about ten steps away. 😂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I agree! I would get sick of seeing some of the world’s most popular athletes of sports, but you have a good point to respect about their achievements.

    Liked by 1 person

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