This is not a typical lead story by any mean, but with so many NFL players struggling with post career finances and finding a post sports identity I felt this story deserved some attention.
While browsing deadspin.com I came across this story about Jon Kitna becoming a high school math teacher.
First I think its an amazing story. I can’t speak about Kitna’s post career finances, but I am greatly proud to see a guy who did not allow the NFL to define him, and who actually had a plan after football.
I struggle to understand why so many college educated former NFL players would rather struggle or live in squalor when the actually point of going to college is to get an education, learn a life skill, and allow yourself to mature.
So many former pro athletes would rather file bankruptcy, or struggle greatly instead of doing what most normal folks do that went to college. Jon Kitna went out and got a regular job that pleases him and I’m sure his students.
While being interviewed on the radio by Mitch in the Morning on KJR in Seattle, Kitna answered several candid question regarding why a guy who enjoyed success in the NFL would become a teacher.
When asked why he became a teacher, Kitna stated, “Well, that was my degree, and I enjoy it. I enjoy math. I’ve found it much more difficult than I thought coming back here. And I’ve always felt like I had a healthy respect for teachers, but now I feel like I just have even more. … It’s overwhelming, honestly. And part of that’s coming in the middle of the year and not having done it for 16 years and things like that. A lot has changed. But yeah, my wife and I always felt like our greatest impact for our lives was gonna be in a public high school coaching and teaching. And for me, the thing that I like to teach the most is math, and the thing that I enjoy the most is math. So that was always kinda the hook for us.”
As I stated before this would not be a lead story by any means on most sports networks, but I feel its essential for athletes whether they be professionals now or retired to understand that yes you went to college to learn, and regardless of your status and wealth you can continue to learn and give back in ways that don’t have any monetary value.