Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Football Example of Opportunity Costs

A paragraph from a recent Run of Play post—A Wrinkle in Time—that wonderfully portrays the reality of opportunity costs. And, no, he is not talking about American Football.
When we are young, the stars of the football world tower over us, not least because, well, at that age any adult evokes a certain amount of awe. (To an eight-year-old, every adult is wise.) Throughout most of our childhood, we think ourselves invincible, and the world ageless; only as our teenage years end do we start to see that choices are coming down the road, closing off certain paths. Yet even then these decisions seem far away, mere abstractions that teachers and parents have conjured up to entice us to do a little extra work. Rarely do the millions playing rec soccer in high school possess the self-awareness to realize that already the dreams of scoring in the World Cup final (and, in many Americans’ cases, finally vaulting soccer to its rightful place at top of the sports heap) ended when we didn’t go for the travel team in elementary school. Even the most devoted young fans, when following the U-17 and U-20 World Cups, or their favorite clubs’ youth teams, see those players just as contemporaries, classmates if we’d gone to a different school. It’s only when we finally see a true up-and-coming star younger than us, whether Gareth Bale or Andy Najar or Josh McEachran or Juan Agudelo, that the real, physical evidence confronts us: those dreams are well and truly over.
Update: A friend noticed that today’s post on Run of Play was a bit inappropriate, so I removed the link to the main Web site to help you avoid running into something you didn’t want or intend to see. The link to the quoted post should be fine.

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