For many of us, playing our favourite sport for a job was a dream from a very young age but, eventually, the majority of us realise that we just aren’t good enough to play it at a professional standard. However, there are some who are of the required standard to go on and play the game professionally, to have thousands of adoring fans aspiring to be in your position and cheering you on. Surely these people still love the game and are fans of the game in the same way as those of us on the terraces?
Apparently not. This week has seen an interview with Ryan Hall published where he said that “I don’t watch rugby. I do it as my job and that’s it.” It is quite remarkable to think that a man once referred to as the ‘World’s Best Winger’ and who has one of the best try scoring records in rugby league looks upon the profession which has made him known worldwide as merely a job and, unlike fans, not as a form of entertainment.
Perhaps it is understandable that people who spend their week working on nuanced aspects of the sport and ensuring their bodies are in peak physical conditions don’t focus on rugby league when they go home – like people with ‘normal’ jobs, they need a break and a life away from the game. After all, life as a professional sportsman is a short one and other interests must be forged in anticipation of the end of a career. It is understandable, albeit a peculiar thought to many of us, that players of our favourite sports don’t love the game as much as we do, but there will be footballers and cricketers who aren’t fans of their sports and view them as a source of income.
If money was handed out for passion and commitment, every sports fan in the world would be rich but, as long as it is handed out for talent and ability, our heroes will be making us cheer, cry and everything in between – for us, in the name of entertainment and love; for them, in name of income and providing for their family.