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Like most every boy growing up, I had grand dreams of becoming a profesisonal athlete. I lived for reading the sports pages, watching any and all sporting events on TV. (Rembember boys and girls, this was the pre internet and cable age when the Game of the Week really was the ONLY game shown). And to me, the ultimate form of recognition that a professional athlete had reached the pinnacle of his sport was: the signing bonus.

Think of it: The team owner thought so much of him to simply hand him a huge wad of cash before he had so much as donned the uniform.  It’s blind faith! For the newly enriched athlete, it’s a powerful statement of belief in him, in his abilities.

This was back in the day when “Broadway” Joe Namath received a signing bonus from the New York Jets. For just showing up at a news conferrence with that dazzling grin he received the whoppping sum of $100,000! (Ha. Today, Alex Rodrieiguz of the Yankees gets paid that amount about a half-inning of work.) 

My dream of standing in front of the media with that big check quickly dissolved. It didn’t take long to firmly established I couldn’t catch a baseball, was too skinny/slow to be of any help on a football field, and getting technical fouls was not a highly sought after basketball skill.

Fast forward to a few months ago, when we were talking over the phone to a lawyer about the contract covering Michelle’s project. Frankly this was really a waste of time; we had little to discuss or want to change in the paperworks. And after doing a lot of research on it, these agreements now are very standard and established. This teleconference with this Philadelphia Main Line lawyer was a mere formality.

But one of the few changes he proposed: to bring forward a portion of the payments to ensure the IPs would actually follow through.  Mind you this was never going to be an issue in our minds. B and M were firmly committed to this project. We had no doubts. But, it was something this attorney had inserted into the documents. (Maybe he just wanted to make some meaningless change in the contract to justify his participation).

So he suggested that one payment is paid out as soon as the contract was signed.

“It’s just a gesture of good faith by the intended parents,” said the lawyer.

“A signing bonus!” I practically shouted into the phone. “It’s a signing bonus!”

So what if it didn’t come from my efforts and exploits on the basketball court. Hell, so what if I wasn’t even addressed to me.

I’m finally in a time and place to be part of a signing bonus!

(FYI, the amount that was actuall paid is equal to the amount that A-Rod made spitting a sunflower seed)

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