If you wanted to be an engineer, at what age do you think youd have to buckle down, bring an end to all that youthful nonsense, and focus on your career? 21? 22? You may even stretch the indiscretion of youth well beyond that, but eventually youd have to settle down and grow up to make it in engineering. What if you wanted to play professional tennis? What age would the silliness of youth have to draw to a close in order for you to have a chance at the pro tour? 10? 11? Maybe younger still and even then your chances of success are slim at best. Once youve made it as an engineer, you can go on earning a very good living well into your 50s or even 60s. Thats a good three or four decades of earning power. As we turn our gaze back to the world of professional sport, the outlook becomes very different. Only the very best, in most physically demanding sports, can hope to have a career lasting beyond 15 years. After sacrificing all the joys of the teenage years we take for granted, pro sportsmen and women are sent out to pasture at the ripe old age of 34 or 35, with no discernable or marketable skills. A handful will fall back on broadcasting or endorsement deals, for the rest an uncertain future beckons. A few million in the bank eases that uncertainty considerably and its no less than they deserve.
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