Sunday Dreams: Turning potential into greatness

Erby tries out for Canadian Football League

J’Ron Erby, Assistant Sports Editor

Potential. I’m starting to hate that word. Most relate the word “potential’’ with something positive. I’ve come to see it in a different light. Potential is essentially nothing. Zero. Zilch.

Potential is showing the capacity to develop into something later. Not what you are at the moment. I’ve heard the word potential so much lately it’s making me sick.

Last Sunday I had the opportunity to attend a tryout for a CFL (Canadian Football League) team. Afterwards while talking with the coach, while telling me how well my performance was he continued to utter that damn word.

“You looked good, you definitely have potential.”

I translate that as “you’re good, but not good enough yet.”

My agent assures me that teams will potentially be interested in me. But what does that tell me? Nothing. It means there’s a possibility. What I am pursuing is full of possibilities, no guarantees.

You don’t know where it will lead until the opportunity is in front of your face. That is, if it even appears. There are thousands of guys out there with the same possibilities, working on their craft making the most out of their potential.

What sets you apart? Are you working harder than them? Are you better than them? Are you willing to sacrifice more than them? These are questions I have to ask myself every day.

It takes a special individual to play this sport, at any level. But when you’re trying to play professionally, it’s a totally different game.

This is ironic because it’s no longer a game, it’s your job. If you are unemployed you can’t put food on the table.

Potential doesn’t get you a job. Potential doesn’t put food on the table. Potential is nothing more than a start. It tells you that you are capable, but being capable of doing something doesn’t mean that you will do it.

So while I loath at the constant referals to my potential, it ensures me that it can be developed to something much greater than just potential. Something special, in fact.

While others note that you have potential, realize that you and only you hold control of what happens with that potential. Will you turn it into greatness? Or will you always be known as the kid who had the potential once upon a time.

I don’t know about you, but I know which path I choose.

(Erby is preparing to enter the NFL combine this spring and will detail his experiences in the series “Sunday Dreams.”)