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My son, aspire to be a statistician

I once had a dream of becoming famous. It was somewhere between the ages of 8-14 that I wanted to be a major league baseball player (well, let's be honest, I still have the dream). Of course I wanted to be a major leaguer because it would be cool to get paid to play baseball everyday, but I also liked the idea of being famous. People would know my name. They would want my autograph. Kids would try to be just like me. How cool would that life be?!

Well, as it turns out, I'm not alone.

A recent study surveying 3000 children ages 5-11 showed that "They want to become celebrities, pop or sports stars in particular, mostly by the model they see on television." 

What is that causes this generation of kids to want to aspire to celebrity status instead of establishing a well-renowned career as a doctor, teacher, or physician? Michael Smith wrote an article surveying three studies that all point to reality TV as a big fault to this generation's celebrity hype. 

The reality that reality TV doesn't teach us, however, is that reality differs from TVLand. Odds of becoming instantly famous are about as good as becoming a Major League baseball player. You can work really hard at something (And you have to in order to have a shot) but eventually genetics and right-time-right-place take their toll one way or another. I am not a professional baseball player because I lack the work ethic to train my body 8 hours a day, I lack the genetics to be a 6' 3" Left-hander, and I haven't had the luck of a scout noticing me play ball....ever.

Have you ever been to a Cincinnati Reds game and watched the scoreboard as each player comes up to bat? Somewhere in a booth somewhere sits a man, piles of papers and computers surrounding him, pouring over the last several month's worth of stats on each player. For the "good guys" he finds the best outlook on even the worst player. Cozart may be batting .226 for the year but when he steps up to the plate there will be a little stat by his name that reads "Zach Cozart has been hitting .336 with runners in scoring position over the last 15 home games." And so his name is lifted up a bit higher in the eyes of the public fan.
Meanwhile, the lowly Cardinals will come to the plate with a stat reading something like, "David Freese is hitting 1-19 against Reds pitching this year." even while he is holding his bat poised with a .312 average and 18 HRs to back it up. 

You see, even a Major League Baseball player cannot rule his own fate. Despite all the talent, the hours of training, the physical and mental preparation, and the best coaching staff money can buy, a player can still be downgraded to a sequence of numbers that doesn't look all that impressive when put in a certain light. 

And so, my son, aspire to be a statistician. Because that is a job you can work hard at, become the best at, and never have anyone critique your work and make you look bad. Sure dream big, but work harder than the dream.

And know that you don't have to be a celebrity for people to look up to you, to want to spend time with you, to want to be just like you. Indeed, the way up is down, but that, my son, is a lesson for another day.....


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