Life in the Offseason: How Athletes Keep Busy

Professional athletes are very busy these days – as if their primary job wasn’t time-consuming enough. But it’s in their nature. Athletes have jobs that don’t just end when you clock out at the end of the day. Every part of their lives can affect their play, so it’s basically like they’re always working. Most athletes have a tireless work ethic. They deal with endless pressure from coaches, the media and fans on a daily basis and are constantly trying to better themselves.

This is why it’s no surprise that athletes are always looking for a new challenge off the field, court or ice. They use their platforms and expertise to gain popularity, convey a message to fans or make some extra cash. Either way, it’s always entertaining to watch athletes get out of their element and display their true personalities.

Analysts and Commentators

Many professional athletes go on to become analysts once their playing days are over. And often, they’re the best kind, because who knows the game better than someone who actually played it (not talking to you, Shaq)? From Charles Barkley to Troy Aikman to Steve Kerr, many athletes have found success in the studio or booth. Even some veteran Chicago Bulls have made the quick-but-temporary transition from player to analyst – Brian Scalabrine is currently an analyst for Boston Celtics games on Comcast Sports New England, and Rip Hamilton is scheduled to join NBA-TV on Wednesday and Thursday nights.

Charities

Athletes are arguably in one of the best positions to establish foundations and raise money. Star athletes like Peyton Manning, Kurt Warner and Dwayne Wade all have their own foundations. Locally, many Chicago athletes get the word out on their own charities through holding events and using Twitter. Kerry Wood hosts a bowling tournament for his Wood Family Foundation, which helps children around Chicago, and Ryan Dempster recently hosted a casino night benefitting his foundation, which aims to raise awareness for a developmental disorder his daughter has. On Twitter, Kyle Korver tries to spread the word and sell merchandise to raise money for his charity, which helps families and neighborhoods in need.

Reality Shows

For years, athletes have been no stranger to reality shows. Whether they do it for fun, money or love, their presence can cause a media blitz. It seems like former NFL quarterback Jesse Palmer was a trailblazer of sorts. He went on The Bachelor in 2004, and shockingly, his relationship with his final choice didn’t work out. However, he may have inspired other NFL players to take the same path. In 2010, VH1 debuted a new dating show – Ochocinco: The Ultimate Catch, in which the wide receiver tries to find love out of a group of 85 women. Sadly, I don’t believe Chad Ochocinco (who was also on Dancing with the Stars) ever found his ultimate catch, but maybe it’s because he takes his first dates to McDonald’s? Just a guess.

A number of athletes have reality shows just chronicling their everyday lives, but when it comes down to it, athletes just really love to dance. Possibly the only other place athletes have found great success aside from their day jobs is on Dancing with the Stars. And the best dancers of all? NFL players. There has been almost one athlete in every top three of every season of the show. Just this week, NFL player Donald Driver took home the trophy. Other winners include former NFL players Hines Ward and Emmitt Smith, and former NFL players Jerry Rice, Jason Taylor and Warren Sapp have come in second. These guys are so fun to watch because they’re totally out of their element, but come on, who knew that Emmitt Smith and Warren Sapp could move like that?

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