ISSUES AT STAKE: Daddies, let your babies grow up to be sportsmen

THIS week five fortunate young soccer stars from the City of uMhlathuze are heading off to the UK on a coaching tour.

Who knows where this adventure might lead?

Being part of the send-off function excitement, I envied these young lads for whom fame and fortune may beckon.

When I was in matric, I desperately wanted to try my luck as a professional footballer.

My father, however, was adamant: ‘You can’t make money out of sport. You must get a qualification that will earn you a salary.’

And so I signed a long contract with Telkom and graduated as a telecommunications technician. I resigned one day after my contract expired.

In retrospect, my dear dad knew far better than me. The way I played, I would probably have had to pay the coach after every game.

However, he was wrong on one score: you definitely CAN make money playing sport.

I came across some figures recently.

Cristiano Ronaldo tops the sport earnings list with a tidy little sum of $186-million per year.

This is broken down into pay ($93-million), salary winnings ($58-million) and endorsements ($35-million).

That’s probably more than the GDP of many smaller countries and equates to around R1.1-billion per year.

In second place, basketballer LeBron James amassed $172-million, while Lionel Messi pocketed $160-million, proving that Barcelona do not always beat Real Madrid.

Number four on the big bucks list was Roger Federer with $128-million, and considering he has been smashing tennis balls for the last two decades, it’s no surprise his lifetime earnings are estimated at around $400-million.

One could retire on that, but he is showing no signs of applying for an old age pension just yet.

Golfer Rory McIlroy occupies seventh place with $100-million, giving new meaning to the word ‘greens’, while number 10 goes to F1 driver Lewis Hamilton with $92-million, which is certainly making a ‘fast’ buck and getting a ‘cheque’ered flag

So, while Willie Nelson may urge ‘Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys’, my advice to dads is: ‘Do let them grow up to be sportsmen’.

Stick a bat, racquet or club in their hands as soon as they have the ability to grip.

And look for baby booties made by Nike or Adidas.

That could be your comfort retirement you are cradling in your arms.

P.S. I notice there are no females in that top ten, which is a pity.

However, since most are married men, I guess the wives actually get to spend the money.

Dave Savides

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