While talking work/life balance with NBA player Kevin Durant and Jim Gray on the Let’s Go podcast on Monday, Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady was eager to add his two cents — “I almost look at a football season like you’re going away on deployment . . . and it’s like, ‘Man, here I go again.’”
Right, here we go again.
There’s no doubt the legendary football star has worked hard and accomplished a lot during his 23 seasons in the NFL (including showing off all seven of his Super Bowl rings on Instagram), but has he ever experienced anything that could be remotely compared to a deployment?
Let’s break this down:
For starters, there aren’t any personal chefs on deployments. This would be a real bummer for someone like Tom Brady, who reportedly consumes an 80% vegan, 20% organic meat diet. He also avoids dairy, sugar, gluten, refined carbs, caffeine, and processed meats. I’d love to see any military dining facility that makes meals with that kind of composition. Allegedly he will occasionally indulge in a square of 100% cacao plain chocolate. Just like the instant hot chocolate you might be lucky enough to get in an MRE, right?
Brady also likes to go to bed around 8:30 p.m. and get a solid nine hours of sleep for peak performance. I guess that means he’s not waking up to stand fire watch, conducting night patrols, or you know, trying to grab a couple hours of shuteye on a makeshift cot in a smelly, hot barracks.
Foam rolling, massages, stretching, and “pliability training” round out Brady’s normal routine, which must feel great after hauling 90 pounds on his back in full battle rattle while carrying a rifle in 113-degree heat through Afghanistan.
Not to mention, “hazard pay” of roughly $30 million a year sounds pretty reasonable. And he’s not even getting shot at!
“When it comes down to it, your competitiveness takes over,” Brady concludes. “And as much as you want to have this playful balance with a work balance, you’re going to end up doing exactly what you’ve always done, which is why you are who you are.”
Thanks for your insight into the hardships of being a professional athlete, Tom.
At the end of the day, Tom Brady is paid big bucks to play a sport he happens to both love and be really, really good at. He may be busy during the regular season and spend time away from his family, but that’s where the comparison ends. Because he still gets a choice.
When service members go on deployments, they don’t. They miss birthdays, holidays, special occasions, sometimes even the births of their own children. They don’t have supermodels at home with their kids and a nanny agency on retainer. They don’t have a team of specialists at their beck and call, or a personal chef to prepare “alkalizing” foods for them. They don’t get to stay in the nicest hotels with the softest sheets. They don’t get to decompress in homes in Florida, New York, Massachusetts, California, Montana, or Costa Rica during the off-season.
And when they get lonely or sad, they don’t have crowds of people cheering for them in packed stadiums, or loved ones standing on the sidelines to greet them after the game.
To be honest, Kevin Durant was a lot closer to the truth when he likened his NBA season to going into “hibernation mode” where he has to “cut everything off.” Coming out of these moments, he says he’s asked himself, “Damn, did some life pass me by?”
When you’ve been on a deployment — like, a real one — you already know what the answer’s going to be.