Countless adolescents hope of breaking into professional athletics when they grow up, a tradition as old as the leagues themselves. Virtually no one makes the NFL without dreaming of gridiron success for years ahead of time.
New Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert is no different, and he can prove it. Just days after he became the No. 6 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the rookie signal-caller revealed that he had a career in professional football pegged as a fourth-grade student.
But where some kids might have simply picked their profession, Herbert went a step further, tabbing Los Angeles as his future home. So far, every major projection for his adulthood has come true.
Yet, 9-year-old Herbert can't hold a candle to the 11-year-old version. That Herbert filled out a similar school assignment and highlighted his affinity for the Chargers. Perhaps that wouldn't seem out of place for a kid living in Southern California, but Herbert grew up in Oregon. Given the popularity of the Chargers compared to other NFL franchises, the selection takes on an entirely different feel.
Fast forward just over a decade later and Herbert can now say he is, quite literally, living his childhood dream. Not even a whole day of recess, a signed copy of "Heat" by Mike Lupica, or a lifetime free of fish pizza can match the joy he must feel.
-- Jason B. Hirschhorn is an award-winning sports journalist and Pro Football Writers of America member. Follow him on Twitter: @by_JBH