Back in 2012 when Alfred got drafted, I had no clue that there was even a chance that he wouldn't make the team. I thought if you got drafted, you were going to be playing for that team. We weren't even dating and I knew absolutely nothing of the football world. It really wasn't until training camp 2013 came around, that I started learning about the process of NFL cuts in training camp and the lack of security that these guys can face. When you think of the NFL you probably think about men who are living out their childhood dreams. Just like when we think of the Olympics, our first thought doesn't go to the number of athletes who walk away in tears with no medal in hand, but to the record breakers and the medalists.
So here we are year 6 in the league, 2 kids later, on team #2, an apartment, townhome, and condo rented, a period of homelessness in FL and now in our first home we've ever owned. What a ride it has been! 2014 marked the first time that I was personally around to experience the pain of seeing hearts broken and dreams shattered through out training camp. So allow me to help you understand:
Let me take you back in time to your high school days. Remember when you tried out for a team and there was a list posted on a wall? And as you walked towards this list your heart was racing and your stomach was full of the bad butterflies, and then you stood there searching for your name? I remember as soon as I saw "Lindsey Rice" even though I basically knew I would make the team, I felt relief wash over my being.
Now imagine that regardless of if you made the team or were cut, it was news that was available nationally. Imagine not being able to just have your immediate family know of your success or failure because suddenly a wave of texts come through of either sympathy & remorse or of excited congratulations. Now put the icing on the cake: fast forward some years and this "game" is now your source of income, and it's how you provide for your family. Whoa... It's like you live in a fish bowl, and your success or failure is no secret. Welcome to the NFL.
To me, that puts the roster of 53 men into perspective. The end of training camp marks a VERY scary time in many people's lives. There is a handful of people who are 100% certain they are making the team, but a large majority just isn't sure. Cuts happen & trades do too. This is a time where families are debating things like if they should rent or buy, if they have to pull their kids out of school because of a sudden move, and for many women if their husband's job is secure enough to switch doctors to have their baby in the new city where their husband is working.
This is a time that marks the moment of relief that your husband made the 53 man roster or where he gets a phone call prior to 4pm on a certain day to come in to the facilities to be fired. Not many people talk about the emotions that these men and their families experience. Football isn't just a dream, it's an income, and it's these guys' job.