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Troy Polamalu: 'Football, to me, was something worth suffering for'

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

On the day before Troy Polamalu's Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony, Ryan Clark released an episode on his podcast Face First titled “Bigger Than The Hall Of Fame” that featured Polamalu and Ike Taylor. Toward the end of the episode, Clark asked Polamalu a question in regards to his Hall of Fame speech and Polamalu gave a really interesting answer about what he learned from sports/football and suffering.

"In short, this is what I have learned from sports in general, and in particular from football, is that nothing comes easy," Polamalu said. "Passion for a sport, everybody has. Everybody has an initial zeal for the sport. But you come to a point that it's like, 'Aw man, do I really love this sport or do I not love this sport?' To me, I've played all the sports growing up. I've also done martial arts. To me, football was the hardest sport to get over that hump. It's like a military boot camp kind of sort of thing. Ultimately it's that suffering through this. Suffering through training, suffering through the discipline of having a diet, suffering through the temptation of wanting to go out and party, suffering through the temptation of the spotlight ... suffering the temptation of money. Ultimately suffering is what we're all going to have to face. In order to be great, you have to overcome that. Football, to me, was something worth suffering for. Something that I would have played for free. In fact, it's so funny is we get paid for 16 days of the year, but we spend 349 days of our own money to prepare for that. Like that's what I think is love, it's also called investment, but I would have willingly done that if I wasn't being paid.

"So, ultimately, suffering is the most important thing. And I even say that in relationships. Burying one another's burdens. You have to suffer, you have to be patient. In the Bible when it says, 'Love is,' the first thing is long-suffering. So, to me, suffering is love. To become better at you're craft, you're going to have to suffer. To be better at your relationship, you suffer, that's what love is, right? You bury one another's burdens. We've talked a lot today, but we haven't brought up my wife, somebody who is the epitome of love and suffering to me. And somebody who epitomized that, and along my whole lifeline, epitomized that and defined that to me. So, ultimately, find something worth loving, man. And you have to stick with it."

I thought Polamalu talking about the amount of suffering that's involved with football was noteworthy and something that could be applied to multiple aspects of life. You can listen to the entire podcast in the link below. Polamalu, Clark and Taylor touch on a lot of interesting topics.

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