Sean

Reflection:

Sean King
Professor Comas
Reflection Paper
May 9, 2010

My original project idea was very similar to that of Chris Dunne’s.  I have always enjoyed working with youth players to help them train and develop into better players.  I was lucky enough growing up to have great coaches that could train me to reach the next level, and I feel that a lot of young players do not get that opportunity.  My plan was to go through a training session with a youth team that would have a two-pronged goal.  First, the youth players would hopefully have a good time and learn something in the process, and second, the coaches might learn some new drills to run at their normal practices.  However, when I found out that Chris was already going ahead with this idea I scratched it for something more unique.  I know that as a ‘hacker’ there is nothing wrong with working closely with someone to accomplish a goal, however, I felt that the class would gain more from two different projects.
Sticking with the soccer theme, I took a more introspective look at my own situation.  After being part of a school or club team my entire life, I am no longer ‘forced’ to play soccer a few times a week.  As most student-athletes do, I am now dealing with the question of how to incorporate soccer into my post-college life.  My original idea was to speak with former student-athletes at Bucknell and discover how they have kept playing.  As part of a formal men’s league team, pick-up in the park, juggling with a few friends, or not at all.
My original proposal that I posted on the blog follows:

Growing up, soccer was my passion.  Every day, my brother and I would come home from school and spend hours in our backyard pretending we were our favorite soccer players.  We would practice ridiculous plays, joke around, and fully take on the hacker ethic in our ‘training’.  Many of the moves we practiced could never be used in a game, but rather were shown before practice or in-between games to gain status among other players.
Some time during my college career, soccer was no longer the sport I loved to play.  The creativity and passion was gone and it became my duty to play.  During my four-year career I have seen players quit because it felt like a job, and other players that only stayed on for the camaraderie.  Their lifelong passion was gone, but they loved the team too much to quit.
For my project I would like to talk to scholar-athletes–from all different types of sports–that have graduated and see how much their former passion is still a part of their lives.  I plan on asking them how much they play their particular sport, in what form, and why they still play.
Also, I plan to ask my brother and his teammates on the Seattle Sounders if they still have the passion for the game or if they just play for the paycheck.  I think this will be particularly interesting because almost everyone would love to be a professional athlete.  In professional sports you can see how the players that that make it to the top and stay there are the players that keep the passion and love the sport they play.  This is obvious from watching players like Zinedine Zidane and Michael Jordan.  These players always played with smiles on their faces and rose to the top of their respective sports and will remain there as legends.
The ultimate goal of my project is to see how former student-athletes transitioned from playing competitively in college to playing for fun—even if its semi-competitively—in the real world.  I hope that from talking with former student-athletes, to be able to regain my love for playing soccer and the passion that used to captivate me when I was younger.
By April 9th I would like to have the list of questions I will originally ask the former student-athletes as well as the set of questions I will ask my brother and his teammates.  By April 16th I will—either through email or phone interviews—have asked my interviewees my questions and analyze the responses that have come in.  If necessary, I will follow-up with some of the interviewees and begin incorporating the responses into a final paper and presentation to the class.

Obviously, this is not exactly how my project turned out.  I focused more on the professional athlete aspect and tried to find out—through interviews—if they still have the same passion for their sport as they once did.  I found it extremely interesting to find that they, in fact, do.  I always thought that once an entity became commoditized that it immediately lost some of its intrinsic worth, however, the professional that I spoke with showed me that this is not be true.  They still have the same passion and love for what they do as when they were children.
In contrast to my original blog post, my final update was:

As we discussed in class, I am going to look at if professional athletes are still as passionate about their sport as they once were.  Every year millions of kids start playing basketball, soccer, baseball, etc.  Beyond innate ability, there is a drive in some kids that allows them to succeed in ways that 99% of us don’t.  I plan on looking at when they realized that they were good enough to turn their passion into a career.  I also plan on asking them how being paid to do something that most people do for fun has changed their attitude towards playing their sport.  As the one presenter said, they found what they loved and “monetized” it.

If I could do this project over again I would do something that would provide more worth for the wider community.  I have two friends in a strategic management class that I provided assistance to in order to create a new recycling initiative.  If you live in downtown Lewisburg you probably know that the current recycling program is horrendous (once a month pick-up) compared to the rest of the nation.  They started a new program in which students living off-campus can drop off their recyclables at a nearby depository.  Maybe it is because it is my senior year, or maybe it is because I could not think of something that I could positively change, but I feel that my project will not have such a positive influence in years to come.

Final Paper/Project

Sean King
Professor Comas
Hacker Project
May 3, 2010
Monetizing Your Passion
Monetizing your passion is a concept that professional athletes, in all sports, have definitely taken to heart.  Throughout my hacker project I was able to speak with athletes who have reached the pinnacle of their sport.  I was also able to get a feel for the amount of passion and drive they have, and how this has allowed them to do what almost every person dreams about when they are children.  It was pretty evident, through talking with them, that they all shared a few common characteristics.  Besides an immense amount of passion and drive for the game of soccer, they all have a love for sports in general, and the four of them all played multiple sports growing up.  What I found most amazing is that they all still have the same passion and drive now as when they children.  Peter Lowry said, “I definitely have that drive [now] more than ever.”
While reading The Hacker Ethic, I kept being reminded how my personal hacker attitude towards the game of soccer had waned in my college career, and had turned into what I understand now as more of a protestant work ethic.  In my original blog post I wrote, “The creativity and passion was gone, and it became my duty to play”.  After this post, Chris Dunne and Alison Heffernan both responded about how they had gone through similar realizations in recent years.  It only seems natural that after playing a sport for so many years, that you no longer have the same fervor for the game that you once had.  For me, it was worth questioning if professional athletes still have a passion for the game or if they went through a transition similar to me.  Also, I wanted to question whether someone could monetize their passion and still feel the same way towards it.  What I found was that professional athletes are as passionate, if not more passionate, about their sport now than they were growing up, and that professional sports, by design, breed ‘employees’ with a hacker work ethic.
Growing up with a brother who would go on to become a professional soccer player is definitely a unique experience.  I got a first-hand account of the amount of hours someone has to spend training in order to make it to the next level.  I believe that only someone who is extremely passionate about soccer and has the drive to succeed could have spent the amount of time that he did practicing and training.  The average person would have become bored or tired and given up, however, his passion for the sport allowed him to practice far longer than I did, or most people do.  Frankly put, Stephen had a passion for soccer that I could not match.
Luckily, he was able to put in those hours and became a professional soccer player, because through his connections in the league, I was able to speak with multiple players and get a wide range of opinions.  In my project I spoke with Roger Levesque and Taylor Graham of the Seattle Sounders, Peter Lowry of the Chicago Fire, and Stephen King of the DC United.  I also spoke with Jenna Camann who works with Lowe’s Team Racing in NASCAR.  I attempted to contact Chris McNaughton, a former Bucknell basketball player, but I never received a response from him.
Talking with professional soccer players in the MLS is especially interesting because most of the players are not paid the exorbitant salaries that players in the four major sports are paid.  Taylor Graham puts it this way, “There are a lot of other options in terms of employment, most better paying as well, but I keep playing because I love to.”  For professional athletes, their job fills all three categories of motivation in Linus’s Law.  Linus Torvalds says, “The categories, in order, are “survival,” “social life,” and “entertainment,”.” (Himanen, xiv)  Soccer serves as their source of social life through the camaraderie that comes with being on a team, and it also serves as the highest form of entertainment, that which requires hard work, but is intrinsically motivational.
For them, money is not their ultimate motivation, but rather their passion for the game.  Peter Lowry said, “I am driven mostly by my passion for the game.”  This sentiment was similar to the account of the other three players that I spoke with as well.  Each player said numerous times that their passion for the game is what keeps them playing every day.  All of them are highly educated, and could pursue careers in numerous fields, however, they return to their respective professional teams every year because they cannot stop playing the game they love.
Also, thanks to a connection that my professor had, I was able to speak with Jenna Camann and get an insight into what it is like to be part of a NASCAR team.  Something that stuck with me from my conversation with Jenna Camann is the amount of intensity that Jimmie Johnson, the driver for Team Lowe’s Racing, and Chad Knaus, the crew chief for Team Lowe’s Racing, have.  She once overheard Chad telling the pit crew after a ninth place finish–preceded by two first place finishes–that they were close, but not completely there yet.  She stressed to me, over and over, how Jimmie and Chad are the two most intense and passionate people, about their jobs, that she has ever met.  I think their attitude towards racing is summed up in this quote from Chad, he said, “I love what I do. I engulf myself in what it is that I do, and there is nothing I would rather do. I have yet to get out of bed in the morning and not want to go to work, and that’s a fact.”
Another aspect of being a hacker is that your skills are used to improve your community.  Himanen says, “Neither is the first hackers’ ethos—that activity should be motivated primarily not by money but rather by a desire to create something that one’s peer community would find valuable—a common attitude.” (Himanen, x)  Professional athletes are able to take their skills, which they have spent their entire lives honing, and share them with the world.  There is no doubt that many fans live for the sports teams that they root for.  Professional athletes are able to bring entire cities together through their triumphs—just look at New Orleans for example—and in this way, they are able to create something, which their community finds extremely valuable.  Stephen King said, “As a professional athlete, you realize the joy that you are able to bring other people in the community.  We are a form of entertainment and have the ability [to] grant fans happiness and satisfaction.”
Reading over the responses that I got, I kept seeing the same pattern.  The initial passion that they once had for soccer was still there, and they are now, more than ever, able to tap into that to produce amazing results.  It was a common theme throughout the interviews that they would mention their intense passion to play soccer and the drive it provided for them.  I think Taylor Graham exemplifies this notion when he says, “There are some days where I am just so excited to play soccer, and be active, just like it was when I was 15.”  With the constant influx of new players from college and abroad, players that do not have the drive to succeed simply cannot remain in the league.
What Taylor Graham says is very dissimilar to my own relationship with soccer.  As I mentioned earlier, my passion for soccer quickly waned in college and my drive to succeed came to rely on external factors rather than internal factors.  The difference between the top 1% of people who play soccer and the top 5% of people who play soccer could arguably be attributed to the source of motivation.  A player can only be motivated by external factors for so long before they no longer have the drive to compete at the top level.
One of the main questions that I wanted to answer in this project was if an athlete could retain their passion for sports even when it became monetized.  Once the job label was placed on their passion, would it change?  For this reason, I asked them if they viewed soccer differently now, that it is their livelihood, as opposed to when they were amateurs.
All four of them mentioned the added pressure.  They all know that their paycheck is on the line and they need to come to practice every day with the mentality that they are going to work as hard as they can while they are there.  Peter Lowry said, “I prepare for game in a methodical way and treat practice and games as my time to punch in, roll up my sleeves, and go to work.”  They made it clear that, although it is fun and they would not trade it for anything, they realize that it is their job, their responsibility, and their next paycheck is dependant on how well they ultimately do their job.
One of the feelings I got from them was that they do realize, in fact, how lucky they are.  They know that they are able to follow their passion and earn a paycheck at the same time.  Stephen King said, “I think of soccer as the best job in the world and practice as fun work.”  I think this coincides with what Himanen says in The Hacker Ethic.  Although it is hard work, nothing takes away from the feeling you get when you are doing what you love.  In the same way that the original hackers were able to take a skill of theirs and do much more with it than most people, professional athletes are able to take a set of skills, which they have honed over a life time, and play with them every day as well.
Watching the greats like Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, and Zinedine Zidane it is clear that they are having fun the entire time they are playing.  It is hard to find a clip of Michael Jordan in which he is not smiling the entire time he is playing.  He is constantly described as the most competitive player to ever play the game.  Beyond his innate ability for the game, it is clear to anyone that has ever watched him play, that not only is he the most competitive person on the court every game, but that he is the most passionate player on the court every game.  Michael Jordan’s mix of natural ability, competitiveness, and passion for the game has allowed him to be immortalized as the greatest to ever play the game.  Stephen King said, “I believe that I play my best games when I am having fun and not stressing about every little thing.”  There is so much pressure inherent in professional sports that if a player treated it as a normal job they would not be able to survive.  Taylor Graham said, “Yes there is more pressure.  Pressure that is self-imposed, pressure because jobs are on the line, and pressure because there are now 36,000 fans that feel like they get to have an opinion and critique players.”
Sports serve as an outlet of creativity for much of the nation’s youth, but somewhere along the line the vast majority of us go through a transition.  Maybe this happens because sports become more about winning and losing than playing, or maybe we just focus on ‘more important’ things.  Either way, most people do not try to follow in the footsteps of their sport’s heroes.  Unlike the vast majority of us, professional athletes are able to monetize the passion they had as a child and become hackers.  They are hackers in every sense of the term.  Speaking with professional athletes in all stages of their careers has given me a further understanding of what Himanen meant when he talked about the hacker ethic.  I am now more motivated than ever to find a career path where I can have half the passion about my job, as these people have about their job.

Peter Lowry:

1)      Growing up, did you play multiple sports or just soccer?
Growing up I played soccer, tennis and was part of a semi-competitive swim team.

a. If multiple -> When did you decide to focus solely on soccer
I decided to focus mainly on soccer because that was the sport I was the best at and enjoyed the most.  As I got older I also got pressure to pick just one sport and each coach I had in each respective sport wanted me to just pick their sport.  Ultimately, soccer is the one I picked.  One of the parents of a soccer player on my team at that time told me if I continue to improve he was sure I could get a college scholarship and so I think that sold me and my parents.

2)      Did you always want to become a professional soccer player?
About the time I decided to focus mainly on soccer I decided I wanted to be a professional.  I use to watch soccer videos with my dad and highlight tapes and the world cup and European cup games.  I always wanted to be one of those players.

3)      How many years have you been playing professionally?
This is my third year as a professional.

a. What teams have you been on and for how long?
I have played for only the Chicago Fire.

4)      How has your passion for soccer given you the chance to be successful in ways that the vast majority of players were not able to be?
I am not the fastest or most athletic or gifted player but I think that I am a player that has learned how to continue to develop and improve my game.  I think the passion and drive to continually improve and develop has helped me reach where I am.

a. Do you think you still have the same intense drive today that once allowed you to excel beyond everyone else?
I definitely have that drive more than ever.  I think the drive to become successful is a very important part of my game.  The drive to play and desire to be able to make a living is a huge drive.

5)      Do you view soccer the same way now (meaning, now that you are a professional) as opposed to when you were just an amateur?
I don’t view soccer the same way.  I think once you have played in tough games and know what its like you have a respect and admiration for fellow players world wide.  It is much harder on the field than it looked when I was a kid.

a. If no -> What is different?
b. Is there more pressure?
Yes there is a lot of pressure.  For the team, for yourself and its much different than college and youth soccer.  It’s a job and how you support yourself.

6)      Now that soccer is your livelihood, do you find yourself thinking of soccer as a job, and practice as work?
Yes.  I prepare for games in a methodical way and treat practice and games as my time to punch in, roll up my sleeves and go to work.

a. If yes -> Does that remove some of the element of the sport that you once loved?
Yes and no.  I think it is different once you have a lot of pressure on you.  But at the same time I still really love the game and try to enjoy what I am doing.

7)      Professional athletes are arguably some of the most competitive people on the planet; however, changing teams and cities may remove some of the team aspect from the game.

a.    How do you feel that connection to your professional team differs from your connection with college or youth teams?
I think you play for fun in youth teams.  It’s with your buddies and there is not nearly as much pressure as college or MLS.  In college the pressure and level was raised but still was not the same as due to the school aspect and it was about doing well enough to get to the next level.  The professional team is a bunch of guys from around the world who are doing this to support their families and you are trying to take their job and money.  Its much more cut throat and quite different from college and especially the youth game.  You don’t have to like the guys you work with and at times you don’t but at the end of the day you have a job to do and you have to be a good pro and do your part no matter what.  Example: There was a fist fight in our locker room at half time (between a player and our head coach) of a game last year and we had to go out and act like the fight didn’t happen and continue the game.

Roger Levesque:

1)      Growing up, did you play multiple sports or just soccer?
Yes, I played a bunch of different sports.  I ended up playing basketball, baseball and soccer competitively through high school.  I stuck with soccer for a few different reasons.  It’s was probably the sport that i excelled at the most–which gave me the best opportunity to continue playing in college.

2)      Did you always want to become a professional soccerplayer?  I think I always wanted to be a professional athlete–I’ve always loved sports.  But it wasn’t always necessarily a professional soccer player, that’s just the kind of way it worked out.

a. If no -> When did you figure out that you were good enough to play professionally? It was sort of a step by step process for me.  I didn’t realize that I might have the opportunity to play professional soccer until later in my college years.  With the opportunity there, and still loving to play, that made the decision for me.

3)      How many years have you been playing professionally?
This is my eighth year playing professional soccer.

a. What teams have you been on and for how long?
I played for the San Jose Earthquakes (and on loan to the Seattle Sounders in the USL) for three years 2003-2005.  Then I played for the Seattle Sounders USL team for three years 2006-2008.  And finally the Seattle Sounders MLS team in 2009 and 2010

4)      How has your passion for soccer given you the chance to be successful in ways that the vast majority of players were not able to be?  I would say passion and persistence.  I’m at the point–and have been there for a few years now–that each off season is time to think about whether or not to play another year.  At some point I’ll have to move on–probably sooner rather than later, but each time I ask the question I come back to still loving to play.  The passion for the game is still there.

a. Do you think you still have the same intense drive today that once allowed you to excel beyond everyone else?  Yeah, my approach to game has never changed.  Each time I play I continue to try to get better.  I think once you lose that drive, than it’s probably about time to move on.

5)      Do you view soccer the same way now (meaning, now that you are a professional) as opposed to when you were just an amateur?
Absolutely, it’s still an opportunity to do something I love–and just play a game.

Taylor Graham:

1) Growing up, did you play multiple sports or just soccer?
I played baseball, tennis, soccer, basketball, and swimming.

a. If multiple -> When did you decide to focus solely on soccer
I played freshman basketball, but after that, it was exclusively soccer.

b. Why did you choose to play soccer
I started playing soccer when I was 4, because that is what my older brother and sister played. I think I continued to focus on soccer because I really enjoyed it, and had success doing so.

2) Did you always want to become a professional soccerplayer?
No, it never crossed my mind till my junior year in college.

a. If no -> When did you figure out that you were good enough to play professionally?
By the end of my junior year in college, when I was a regular on a team that made the final four, that was the first time I thought about playing professionally and it being a possibility. That summer I trained with the Galaxy just to expose myself to that level.

3) How many years have you been playing professionally?
This is my 8th year playing.

a. What teams have you been on and for how long?
Kansas City 2003, 2004
Seattle USL 2005
New York Red Bulls 2006, 2007
Seattle USL 2008
Seattle MLS 2009, 2010

4) How has your passion for soccer given you the chance to be successful in ways that the vast majority of players were not able to be?
Because soccer is not a very lucrative profession, for most, I am driven mostly by my passion for the game. I feel like I am lucky to be playing, and because I enjoy that, I will continue to do so. There are a lot of other options in terms of employment, most better paying as well, but I keep playing because I love to.

1. Do you think you still have the same intense drive today that once allowed you to excel beyond everyone else?
To be honest, I do not think so. I think it has changed and I think it has to change. I was a player that was able to compete with ‘better’ players because I outworked them. I do not have that luxury now because I am older, and have a tendency to over-train. I still have the desire to be as intense, but I no longer have the ability to do so.

5) Do you view soccer the same way now (meaning, now that you are a professional) as opposed to when you were just an amateur?
No I do not. It is still a game that I love, and enjoy, but it is also a profession. A job. A responsibility. I am fighting day in and out to be able to make money, and provide for myself, and my future family. I still love the game as much, but it adds another level of seriousness that it did not have before.

a. Is there more pressure?
Yes there is more pressure. Pressure that is self-imposed, pressure because jobs are on the line, and pressure because there are now 36,000 fans that feel like they get to have an opinion and critique players.

6) Now that soccer is your livelihood, do you find yourself thinking of soccer as a job, and practice as work?
It varies from day to day. There are some days where I am just so excited to play soccer, and be active, just like it was when I was 15. There are other days where I think about it being a job, and not to best approach training as any employment.

a. If yes -> Does that remove some of the element of the sport that you once loved?
It does a little, but there are constant reminders about how lucky we are. Whether it is coaching kids, who do it purely for fun, or visiting a kid in the hospital who idolizes us. These are great reminders that it is more special than a normal job.

7) Professional athletes are arguably some of the most competitive people on the planet; however, changing teams and cities may remove some of the team aspect from the game.

a. How do you feel that connection to your professional team differs from your connection with college or youth teams?
It is certainly different. College is more of a family. You know you are going to be together for a set period of time, and you make the most of it. And because in college everyone is in the same stage of life, it is easier to be a cohesive unit. As a pro, you have no security, and there are players at all different stages of their lives. Some are married, some are 18, others have kids, some do not speak the same language. It makes it much harder.

Stephen King:

1)      Growing up, did you play multiple sports or just soccer?
While growing up, I participated in a few different sports.  Other than soccer, I played basketball and ran track.

a. If multiple -> When did you decide to focus solely on soccer
I decided to focus solely on soccer once I got to middle (junior high) school.

b. Why did you choose to play soccer
I chose to play soccer because it was my first love and it was the sport that I was already having the most success playing.

2)      Did you always want to become a professional soccer player?
Yes.  Ever since I can remember, I have dreamt of being a professional soccer player.  I started playing soccer at age four.  When Major League Soccer was established in 1996, it gave kids like me a league to watch and aspire to play in.

a. If no -> When did you figure out that you were good enough to play professionally?
When I was in high school, I had the honor of being selected to various youth regional and national teams.  That was when I first realized that I may have a chance.  I never felt secure enough in my abilities to get complacent and didn’t ever feel as though I was definitely going to get the opportunity to get to play professionally.  I was fortunate to have had great coaches, teammates, and mentors along the way.

3)      How many years have you been playing professionally?
I am in my third year as a professional soccer player.

a. What teams have you been on and for how long?
I got drafted to the Chicago Fire in 2008.  I played for the Fire for 1 year.  Since then, I have been playing for the Seattle Sounders FC and am in my second year with them.

4)      How has your passion for soccer given you the chance to be successful in ways that the vast majority of players were not able to be?
Soccer has been my identity since I was very young.  Luckily, my parents provided me with the resources and capability to hone my skills and build an athletically proficient body.  My love of the game has never ceased and continues to be the main reason why I still play today.

a. Do you think you still have the same intense drive today that once allowed you to excel beyond everyone else?
Absolutely.  I believe that I am more driven today than ever.  As you progress from level to level, it requires a higher proficiency.  As an elite athlete, you never stop learning.  You must maintain that hunger to get better, or else everyone else will pass you by.

5)      Do you view soccer the same way now (meaning, now that you are a professional) as opposed to when you were just an amateur?
Yes and No.

a. If no -> What is different?
I have more respect for the game than I did previously.  As a professional athlete, you realize the joy that you are able to bring other people in the community.  We are a form of entertainment and have the ability grant fans happiness and satisfaction.  Soccer is also a form of escapism that allows you to express yourself and be happy in a crazy world.

b. Is there more pressure?
Yes.  Just like any job.  When you reach the highest level of something, there is extreme competition.  Knowing that you can be cut if you don’t perform well is unsettling.  The best way to deal with the pressure is to remember the reasons why you began playing in the first place.  You must maintain that care-free, fun attitude or you can self-destruct.

6)      Now that soccer is your livelihood, do you find yourself thinking of soccer as a job, and practice as work?
I think of soccer as the best job in the world and practice as fun work.  I am extremely lucky to be able to still be playing at the age of twenty-four and do not take it for granted.  You never know what day will be your last as a professional athlete.  Knowing that you cannot play forever takes away from the monotony and grind of each day.

a. If yes -> Does that remove some of the element of the sport that you once loved?
You must take your performance seriously or else you will be cut.  With that being said, I believe that I play my best games when I am having fun and not stressing about every little thing.

7)    Professional athletes are arguably some of the most competitive people on the planet; however, changing teams and cities may remove some of the team aspect from the game.

a.     How do you feel that connection to your professional team differs from your connection with college or youth teams?
Every team is different.  The teams that I have been on (Chicago and Seattle) have both had good camaraderie.  However, it does not compare to my experiences at the University of Maryland.  College sports create more of a team mentality because your job and livelihood are not necessarily on the line.  In pro sports, there is more pressure and turnover that takes away from the chemistry of the players.

UPDATE:

I spoke with my brother today and set up times to interview him and 3-4 of his teammates either this Tuesday or next Monday.  Also,   a former Bucknell soccer player and now pro (Michael Lookingland) is coming back this weekend for the alumni soccer game, so I plan on speaking with him after the game and setting up a time to discuss my project and interview him.  Lastly, I am going to speak with my friends on the basketball team and try to get Chris McNaughton’s email because I think the perspective of someone who plays outside of the United States would be very interesting.

As we discussed in class, I am going to look at if professional athletes are still as passionate about their sport as they once were.  Every year millions of kids start playing basketball, soccer, baseball, etc.  Beyond innate ability, there is a drive in some kids that allows them to succeed in ways that 99% of us don’t.  I plan on looking at when they realized that they were good enough to turn their passion into a career.  I also plan on asking them how being paid to do something that most people do for fun has changed their attitude towards playing their sport.  As the one presenter said, they found what they loved and “monetized” it.

As part of the collaborative, open-source ethic that we read about, I would like to ask the class for any professional athletes that they know and I could possibly get in contact with.  If you know anyone that would be willing to talk with me for a short amount of time please either comment on my post or bring it up in class, it would be much appreciated.

UPDATE:

After digesting your comments I have decided to go ahead with my original idea.  According to The Hacker Ethic, the primary motivation for hackers is to create something that will be seen as valuable by one’s peer community.  A lot of the comments that I received were from people who have gone through the same realization that I have.

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