“I get paid to practice. I play the games for free.”
- Junior Seau
Read this quote on Peter King’s Monday Morning Quaterback site. Football player Rodney Harrison was sharing his fondest memories of his friend, former teammate and Hall of Fame inductee – the late great Junior Seau and this was one of them.
Football is a sport where practice time greatly exceeds playing time. In baseball you play 162 games. In basketball and hockey there are 82 games. Football has only 16 games for a season. It means that each one is crucial. There is little room for a error or even a short slump. Practice becomes essential.
But there is also another side to it. When you are committed to practice you begin to trust the process. The hard work is done. When its Gametime you can be in the moment and enjoy yourself. You can get in the zone. Playing the game becomes fun.
As a performer I can relate to that. Prior to going on tour or doing a big show, I will practice for hours. Knowing the lines is a given, I want to hone in on the small details. But for me practicing doesn’t just mean rehearsing my live show. Performing is only a small part of the job of being a rapper. I need to be on top of my accounting, I need to book shows, I need to stay on top of emails and paperwork. For me, this is what I get “paid” for doing. Getting out on the stage and rocking the crowd – that’s “free” – that the fun.
I think the saying “make your vocation your vacation” is inspirational but it’s not completely accurate. It’s great to enjoy yourself, but you have to be committed to the details which oftentimes aren’t fun. As an athlete it can mean running laps or staying in the gym. As a musician it can mean being in the studio, or taking care of the business tasks. As a student, it means completing homework and studying extra hours.
The key is to keep the long term goal in site while working on the small tasks daily.
For every athlete that believes in practice, there are some that don’t…
Who can forget this classic clip…