Being alone on a Monday in some out-of-the way motel is fine for travelling salesmen and those in the trucking industry. But it might be enough for a football player to wonder where he is going in life, when he is asked how he intends to eventually transcend into the working world when the spotlight no longer follows him around.
For some players that might be a problem, but not for BC Lions kicker Paul McCallum, who has been working at Maple Ridge's MacDonald Realty since moving here in 2009.
McCallum originally did not see real estate in his future, but after working at Sask Energy for four years in the corporate affairs department, he learned that if he retired from football his off-season job at Sask Energy would be given to another player.
In 2005, on the advice of friends, he got a realtor's licence. Four years later he met Harvey MacDonald at a golf tournament and was asked to join MacDonald Realty.
"Being in pro sports makes it easier because people know who you are, and it opens a lot of doors," said McCallum, "but I've never been the type of person to use that."
"When I got my job at Sask Energy, I got the feeling some people thought I was a football player getting a paycheque. I remember saying I don't want any special treatment," he said. "Even though I'm selling a house, I don't want people to think I'm a football player, but someone that will work hard for them.
"Real estate is the closest feeling of exhilaration to football you can get when you can help someone to closing a deal. Both are team settings," he added.
McCallum, a single dad of two girls, Meghan, 12, and Paige, 11, said football doesn't define him.
"Just because I'm a football player, doesn't mean I won't work hard."
McCallum isnt the only football player making a smooth transition into the afterlife.
If there is a common thread, it is that the successful ex-players start preparing while still wearing shoulder pads.
The easy part, players say, is preparing while playing. The tough side is acknowledging it is time to move past the game.
The question is repeated every year in the CFL, of course, but around the Lions, at least, there appear to be more stories suggesting that players are doing a better job preparing for their departure from football than there are those coping with withdrawal.
Others struggle if they focus solely on football during their careers when retirement is at the front door. Some express fear of what comes next when the cheering stops.
They would all do well to follow the example of Lions centre, Angus Reid, whose father sat him down after November's Grey Cup and asked him point-blank if he was prepared to become less relevant.
"I honestly answered, saying, 'I don't think so,'" Reid said of a talk with his dad, Duncan, who went into business with his son in promotional printing nine years ago.
"I know what I am worried about, for sure, is finding a career that challenges me as much as football. I'm very much addicted to the thrill of putting yourself out in front to people. I'm scared there isn't a career afterwards that pushes me and I'm not as useful as I would be in football."
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