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When Did It Become Not Enough?

The athlete's dream used to revolve around that little child's aspirations of making it to the pros. Shooting hoops until dark. Hitting off tees in the winter. Football anywhere there was space available. The dream was about getting better, arriving, and being able to do what you love. It was about accomplishing a feat which one percent of our society could experience. The athlete's dream was about making that dream a reality, and enjoying it while you're physically able to do so.

What happened to that dream?

Today it seems that dream is now contingent and packaged along with landing the right deal, the right contract, suitable endorsements, and the proper incentives. All terms that are synonymous with sports and business. However, now, they're terms comfortable amongst our amateur athletes, through the mega business that sports have become.

And quite frankly, there is absolutely nothing coy about protecting yourself financially in a world where your stock fluctuates more than a share on Wall Street. When players such as LeBron James, Alex Rodriguez and Ronaldino receive the big time contracts that they do, it is not at all bothersome. Are they overpaid? Sure. However, they are doing what is right for themselves, their families, and their future. After all, they have equity. We've seen what they can do. We know what they can do. They are great. We know it. They have proved it on many levels. Their negotiation and financial stance is justifiable based on , "look, here is what I have done."

With that said, when did rookies, first round draft picks, blue chip prospects, and "can't miss" players attain such bargaining rights? Michael Crabtree recently made statements suggesting he is prepared to sit out the entire 2009 NFL season and re-enter the draft next year if he does not get the deal he desires from the San Francisco 49ers.

Wow. Really?

I understand what Crabtree and his agent are attempting to do in forcing the 49ers hand, however, one has to presume the Niners have the same thought most fans (and even non-fans) have, and that is, "What exactly have you done?" It's not a statement to attack Crabtree's character, but one that questions the financial structure and monetary discipline in sports.

We are witnessing the same situation in Major League Baseball with pitching phenom Stephen Strasburg. Strasburg, the first overall selection in the 2009 MLB draft, has yet to sign his rookie deal two months after being drafted due to stalled negotiations with the Washington Nationals.

When did it become like this?

In what profession are you paid before you prove your quality of worth?

How is this explained to the gritty ten year veteran who watches a rookie handed everything without stepping on the field?

Most importantly, when did the dream of making it to the pros become not enough?

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