What Is Long, and What Is Not.

“The NFL isn’t a career — it’s an experience. Most careers last 40-50 years, and people grow old in them.” — Alfred Morris

Two things got me thinking:

The first is that quote, at top. It’s from Alfred Morris, the rookie running back for the Washington Redskins. (That’s a photo of him sleeping on the couch. He still sleeps on the couch when he visits his parents.)

NFL players don’t usually have that kind of awareness, but Morris really seems to understand what’s happening in his life. The NFL is something most players have worked for since they hit puberty. It’s all they’ve worked for. The idea that it wouldn’t be forever is…. well, impossible.

Understanding what the NFL is — a job, an experience — and what it is not — a career, a lifestyle — is going to change everything for Morris. It’s going to let him make the most of this incredible opportunity.

But most of us can’t tell the difference between what is big, and what is not. We see a half an inch of water and we tell ourselves we’re going to drown. We hit a bump and think it’s a mountain.

We lack perspective, and that’s one thing we need most to understand the road we’re on and the places we’re headed.

There’s a second thing. I had a Latin teacher in high school, Miss Cherry. One of her quotes comes to mind now: Ars longa, vita brevis.

Art is long, but life is short.

And in high school, I remember thinking: What the hell is that? Art is long?


But that’s exactly what Morris is talking about, too. It’s this idea that some things are forever, and some things fade away.

The memories are long, but the job is short.

The ambitions are long, but the opportunities are short.

We work to build things that are long — but ultimately, the one thing we know is that the chances to make them are short.

Make things now, with the time you have now. To wait is to discover that now is very, very short.

Photo at top of Morris comes via the Washington Post.