“If you let your kid play sports, she’ll grow up to be a productive member of society! If you don’t, what’s wrong with you?”
That’s the subtext of a lot of sports marketing ads for everything from the NCAA to shoe companies. And we sports journalists buy in whole hog.
But wait a minute. Aren’t some of the traits that make someone a good athlete — aggression, attitude, a winner-takes-all mentality — actually bad traits to have in life?
Bobby Warshaw played at Stanford and went on to the pros in MLS and Scandinavia. His book, When the Dream Became Reality: The journey of a professional soccer player, and the push for meaning, purpose, and contentment, wrestles with the duality of being a good athlete and a good person.
Along the way, we talk about the now-dissolved Bradenton academy (“There’s no human being that came out of that Bradenton academy that was a regular person after that”), promotion/relegation, parenting, character-building and whether the Scandinavians know something we don’t about how to live.