Just a random thought.
Pro athletes make millions of dollars- and if they're not, they're still more than financially stable. They are coached, they go through team routines, and perform using their natural (or unnatural) talents.
But isn't it just a job to them? I mean, of course I'm sure they love their sport- that's a given. And naturally they play to win, and make their best effort for the purpose of winning. When we open up a game of Solitaire or play a board game, I'm sure we'd rather win than lose. But when all is said and done, and all that money to fall back on, as well as the solace of "there's always next year", does losing devastate them as much as we think they do? I mean, I'm sure these guys have lives, moreso than most of us.
For example, this morning- Colin Cowherd reports that Derek Jeter was at a strip joint spending the night with two women. Regardless of whether or not this is true, it's an example of this lavish lifestyle professional athletes have that makes losing not seem like a big deal. Got knocked out of the playoffs the 7th straight year? Didn't perform well against Cleveland? Joe Torre's leaving? There's new people running the team? Mariano and Jorge considering leaving? ...I'm sure Derek is aware, and has his opinions on the subject matter, and I'm sure he'd rather still be playing, but does any of this really mean that much to Jeter?
Take college athletes. An overwhelming percentage won't make it to the pros. They have school and work to focus on- to many, I have to assume that deep inside (moreso in the smaller conferences) many feel their sport is just an extra curricular activity. College Football is one of the most popular markets in the country, and the College Basketball postseason one of the most celebrated times of year. I know there's a larger vibe of "passion" in college sports, in terms of performance and school rivalry. It just makes me wonder if these guys get caught up in the BCS standings, the rankings, the March Madness. It's a nice thought wondering if they're just as big as fans as we are.
We have us, hardcore sports fans, talking about it every day, coughing up stats, reading articles, watching every single game, analyzing everything. Personally I know it's in my nature- I love being a sports fan and it'll never change. But I find it quite amusing that many people including myself get so worked up over sports, when there are athletes out there that really don't think much of it. I'm not scrutinizing their passion for the game, but you would think they'd be just as or more obsessed about their game than fans are. When in reality, I assume some are not.