We’ve all dreamed of playing in the big game. Hitting the winning shot, a walk-off home run, or an overtime goal to win the Stanley Cup.
But the truth is, 99.9 percent of us don’t have anywhere near the skills you would need to even think about playing professional sports.
But what if we got that chance? What if one of the league’s teams called you up and pressed you into duty? What sport could you contribute the most in, or, hurt your team the least in?
This post was inspired by this comment on twitter:
Overheard at the gym: “If you were guaranteed 15 minutes per game, 82 games, do you think you could average two points per game in the NBA?”
I argued that, yes, you could. Here’s why: You are terrible, no matter how good at IM basketball or high school basketball, or even college basketball you were, you are TERRIBLE compared to NBA players. They know this, therefore they would leave you WIDE OPEN every time down the floor, knowing that at best you are hitting 2 out of 10 shots, and giving them a 5 on 4 advantage against the real players. The hardest part would be getting your teammates to get you the ball so you could shoot, since they know you are terrible and will probably miss.
Now, for the purpose of our post/argument here are the boundaries/rules I’ve come up with: You must play consistently, if teams are calling you, they’re using you. You will play an actual position, so this rules out punter or kicker in football. It must be a team sport, no marathon running or things like gymnastics, your teammates will help make up for your shortcomings. And this is assuming average athletic ability. I am using myself as the basis for this, as I stand 5-11, 175 lbs, and was a decent athlete in high school.
Without further ado, here are the rankings:
5. NHL Hockey
In my opinion, by far the hardest to contribute in. In every other sport you can use your feet to move around, hockey, you have to learn a difficult skill just to get around. And then there’s the contact. They hit harder in hockey than they do in football because they’re moving so fast. It would not matter where they put you, 6th defenseman, 12th forward, and definitely not goalie, you would not contribute anything. Even if they somehow put you next to Sidney Crosby, you probably aren’t scoring more than 5 times that season. And, like every sports, even their worst players would kill average guys. If Steve Ott joined your beer league tomorrow and tried, he could score 10 times each game like it was nothing.
4. NFL Football
Again, the physical part of this would destroy you. You wouldn’t make it to the end of the first quarter. And again, like hockey, there is no place to hide you if you are playing real positions. WR, you’ll never get open. RB, you’ll never get more than 2-3 yards. QB, you’d likely never complete a pass outside of a screen. OL, you’ll get bull-rushed every play. Defense, you would just get torched on pushed around every play like you weren’t there. Honestly, if hockey didn’t have skating involved, I’d say this is harder, but you could at least run around a bit at WR and look like you’re kind of contributing.
3. NBA Basketball
Honestly, this is the sport I think you could contribute the most in one area, as my previous comments about averaging 2 points per game noted. If you knock down 1 or 2 of your 10 shots per game, and maybe on a hot night 3 or 4, then you added to the team in some way. But in every other way you’d be destroyed. You’d have no chance on defense. You’d never grab a rebound. And if you didn’t immediately catch and shoot, the defense would swarm you and force you into bad passes or just take the ball from you right then and there. Again, you might be able to contribute SOME in the NBA, at least on offense, but everywhere else you would get dominated just as much as any other sport.
2. MLB Baseball
Again, this is either “contribute most or hurt the team least” and I think baseball falls into the latter category. I don’t think even the most polished former decent high school player would hit higher than .100 (1 for 10), hit for any power, steal any bases, or even walk that much. But you are one at-bat in nine, and unless you come up with runners in scoring position, you aren’t hurting that much. Hell, you probably aren’t hurting the lineup more than 90% of the pitchers in MLB are. And defense, you’d be a mess trying to catch or slowdown those rockets they’d hit at you, but again, not every ball is going to be hit to you, so as long as you don’t fall down when it’s hit your way, you kept the damage somewhat limited. Your stats in this would look the worst compared to other sports, but I don’t think it would hurt as much since it’s such an individual team sport.
Hear me out on this before you leap down my throat thinking I’m insinuating that soccer is easy. It’s not. And if you played defense, goalie, or midfield you’d either get turned inside-out, not stop any chances, or die of exhaustion going up and down the field. And that doesn’t including anything you’d have to do with the ball. But that leaves forward. If you’re playing forward, you don’t have to contribute much, if anything on defense. And since soccer is such a defensive game, your team could just pack it in with the other 10 games and play to keep the ball out of the net, then hope for 1-2 chances where they score. Honestly, the team probably wouldn’t even need you aside from taking up space and getting in the way of occasional opponent. Sure you probably wouldn’t end up on the score sheet a ton, if at all, but you wouldn’t stick out (as much) like a sore thumb if you played forward the whole game.