Usain Bolt makes his sport of sprinting look like a cake walk. The truth of the matter is, everyone hates running. It’s tiring, not fun and is every other sports punishment for a reason. Conspiracy theorists like myself always wonder about phenomenal athletes, like Bolt, if they could transcend their current sport and try to play another one professionally. Bolt is no exception.
Bolt has said that he has interest in playing professional soccer, in particular English Premier League powerhouse Manchester United. Those are quite high aspirations for a guy that runs in a straight line for a living if you ask me. I don’t doubt that he has every played soccer before, I just doubt he has the ability to play on such a quality club. If he has the skills to play alongside the likes of Wayne Rooney, his home nation of Jamaica might be giving him a call for their own squad.
However, even though speed kills in any sport, soccer is all about endurance. Bolt is an insane athlete, for 10-to-20 seconds. How would he last a full 90 minutes? Call me a doubter, but soccer isn’t always about being the fastest. Look at players like Andrea Pirlo, of Italy. Not the fastest, or the strongest, but is exceptionally goo at set pieces.
Some might say Bolt’s role could be to chase after crosses in open spaces. He may be the first guy to the ball, then what? How will he get around a defender mugging him and pushing him around? Will he just go for the goal? Will he be able to put top-notch crosses to players like Wayne Rooney? All of these highly unlikely.
In addition to soccer, there have been rumblings of Bolt playing American football. Initially, I thought it would be a great idea. Bring in a fast guy to burst past defenders, leaving them in the dust. Then, I woke up.
Can the guy catch? How will he do against press coverage? How fast will he run in pads? How long will it take him to get to top speed, since he normally needs about 30 meters to do so? How will he adjust to starting off the grass/turf as opposed to a starting block? Can he take the punishment delivered on the skill players in the NFL? Can he make sharp cuts on a dime or just run fly patterns?
All of these questions are why these types of experiments never work. Yes, the Ravens had a similar player in Patrick Johnson, who was the king of running fly patterns that created holes in the secondary, but Johnson also had football skills. His hands weren’t the greatest, but he could make catches when called upon most of the time.
In the same breath, it would not surprise me if Bolt gets a call from either the NFL or EPL. Teams make these moves to garner publicity and bring in a new fan base that would have never been involved with that respective team. I think he will suffer from the same fate as American sprinter, Justin Gatlin. Gatlin tried out for the Tennessee Titans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Houston Texans and failed to make the squad each time.
Keep running Usain because you would be insane to dabble with any other sport, especially American football.
Follow me on Twitter @Jeff_Kryglik.