As the Rio Olympics move to the track & field events this week, I remember a job that I used to think I’d have when I grew up.
Professional long jumper.
That’s right. In fourth grade, I thought I was a good athlete with an explosive vertical leap and so I thought the running long jump would be my forte. I remember spending a few Saturday mornings in the broad jump pit of University Park Elementary School, practicing my approach, my set, and my leap. It was like I was Bob Beamon with, as DC Talk says, a different shade of melanin.
So that short-lived certainty made me consider other jobs that I was sure I would have when I grew up. Here’s a tour of five . . .
5. Long Jumper. See above.
4. Professional Tennis Player. Many of you know this. From fourth grade on through my senior year of high school, I was pretty sure this was my destiny. I even have the trading cards to prove it!
3. Attorney. In my senior year of high school, my tennis game went into a prolonged slump (it had to be the racket’s fault), and I realized I shouldn’t turn down an opportunity to head to college up north. Plus, my father had taught law at SMU and my brother was already a successful attorney in Louisiana. Everything seemed set: college in New Jersey, return to Texas for law school, and then do whatever it is that attorneys do.
2. Editor. Midway through college, I realized my pull towards ministry was stronger than my pull to the law. However, as a newlywed, I decided not to move right to seminary from college, so Julie and I set up a home in central New Jersey in the mid-eighties. While I had a good job with the US Tennis Association, I grew a longing to become part of a New York publishing company. I thought I could start as an editorial assistant and work my way up. Guess what? Not only did I never get that job, I never even got an interview.
1. Chippendale. In the late 80s, it was that or seminary. Sometimes I still struggle with whether or not I made the right choice.