I watched a group of badly dressed young men become millionaires the other night.
The NBA held its annual player draft, which in the sporting world is big news.
I watched for awhile as these men, at least one as young as 18, smiled broadly as their names were called.
They hugged and kissed loved ones and then marched up to the podium to receive congratulations from the commissioner of the league.
They were handed hats of the team that drafted them, some later switched hats after they were traded.
Some were interviewed, and almost all of them were brimming with confidence that they were already great players and their “game” would make them superstars.
The late John Lennon once said life is what happens to us when we’re busy making plans.
I wonder how many of these youngsters, celebrating one of the exciting nights of their lives, will actually fulfill their dreams?
More importantly, I wonder how many of them have plans for when their careers end?
The end for these young men is likely in their 30s. Some will be bounced out of the league before they blow out 30 candles on their birthday cake.
Thirty, or even 35, is pretty young to be contemplating a career move.
Not all of them will find a place in the game after retirement, either coaching or broadcasting.
That means many, maybe even most, will have to move on to the real world.
Career changes happen all the time to people, but few have to adjust to multi-million dollar salaries and paparazzi when they do so.
Most of us are sports fans of some sort. It’s a nice diversion from work or stressful situations.
But for the men and women who play professionally, it’s work. It’s long hours before they become successful and longer hours and harder work afterward.
Fans do not see all the hours spent practicing, we just expect our teams or our favorite players to be great all the time.
Players are not allowed to be human, they must be perfect.
I don’t know how many of these freshly minted professional hoopsters realize how hard it is to be one of the best in the world.
Very few make it to the top level of a sport. The rest of us can only admire them and wish it was us.
We see the salaries, and all the stuff that money can buy, and we want that lifestyle.
It doesn’t work out that way for the majority. There are more people who get up in the morning and go to a regular job than there are professorial athletes, proving how difficult it is to be great.
That’s OK, though. There is nothing wrong with getting up every day, going to work, raising a family and coming home and doing it again the next day and the day after that.
These men in their expensive suits that passed for fashion, are in for a long ride.
Some will go the distance, many will not and have to move on.
We never know where life will lead us, but the journey is the fun part.
Patrick Murphy, editor-publisher of theHumphrey Democrat and Newman Grove Reporter in Nebraska, is a former assistant managing editor of The Telegram.