One of the things Park City cherishes is its athletics, whether that is individual sports like giant slalom or team sports like lacrosse. Yet, I often cringe when fellow parents will tell me that that their little Suzie, who plays on the 3rd-string soccer team, is going to pay her way through college using those soccer skills. I never say anything but always think, isn’t there an easier way (and perhaps more likely) way to get a full-ride to the U (whatever “U” your kid wants to attend)?
Today I was reading a story that reminded me of those thoughts and clarified the issue. The story is about Noah Rubin, who has been “playing tennis since he was 1 year old.” His parents have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in pursuit of “his” tennis dreams. He is currently ranked 631 on the men’s ATP tour, has just quit Wake Forest, and will pursue professional tennis.
His dreams may purely be based on love of the game. However, if they are financial at all, it is likely he’ll be in for a rude awakening. His combined winnings after playing tennis for 18 years are $18,000. He is currently ranked 631 in the world. Estimates are that only the top 164 players in the world do better than BREAK EVEN each year. So, if you are the 164th best player, your net income is $0. That’s a tough job.
Perhaps other disciplines like super G, soccer, and curling fare better than tennis? Yet, it still seems you have to be one of the top people in the
country world to do these things and be financially successful.
As always, what an individual person and family chooses for themselves is none of my business. Yet, it doesn’t mean that I don’t look upon some choices and wonder. I’m all for athletics in our schools. I think it teaches a number of skills that can provide a well rounded education. In some cases it can lead to college scholarships and perhaps even more. However, when that athletic experience is pushed past its logical end, and hope exceeds rationale, it seems like a lot of wasted time.
Of course, this post is just the opinion of a guy who perhaps could have gotten a full ride to a division III school to play tennis, but in hindsight, is glad he just got business degree instead.
If you’ve got five minutes, and care at all about the topic, you may want to read “The Brutal Costs of Raising the World’s 631st-Best Tennis Player.”