There was a great article this morning in the Calgary Herald about the intelligence and smarts of certain football players. You can click here to read the full article. It helps debunk the common stereotype we often have of jocks that they have gifted physical and athletic attributes, but are lacking substance upstairs. I still remember the expression used to make fun of an introductory Geology course in university. People called it “Rocks for Jocks” because it had a reputation of being easy and the class was filled with student athletes looking to get some easy marks, or just hoping to get by.
But, as mentioned in the Herald article, take a survey of any football team, and take a look at the student athletes combining school with athletics across our campuses, and we can see that there are many examples of abilities that transcend the playing field. Already sports, in itself, is such a valuable education for learning leadership, teamwork, adversity, pressure, training, practice, and perseverance skills. With smart players, they are more likely and able to apply and transfer these skills in other contexts in the community, business, and education world during and after their athletic careers.
In the Canadian Football League, especially, with the salary being relatively low for professional athletes, knowing and learning about what players do outside sports makes them more in touch with the common folk. I think an athlete’s true power and influence comes when he/she is able to motivate not only other people in the same sport, but when someone who is totally in a different field gets inspired to go beyond limits because of an athlete’s example.