Professional athletes are held on such a high pedestal and their glamorous lifestyles are chauffeured around for everyone to watch so regularly that it almost seems impossible that one could ever think that these people have issues other than injuries or getting ejected from a match.
Unfortunately, that's not the case. There are so many different levels of leagues that a lot of people don't even know about but are still considered professional. These leagues are the ones that some of the most complicated ones to play in, or in some accounts, don't even sufficiently pay enough to sustain the athlete's own life, let alone his or her family.
There are some professional athletes don't pursue the career based on money, they go after what the job simply for the love of the game. These athletes are the ones that should be the most looked up to. Of course the ones that are on the world stage have (usually) worked their butts off to get there, but the ones that aren't there are have also worked a tremendous amount even though they don't stay in the five-star hotels, or drive in the luxurious coaches, or fly in their teams' private jets. These athletes work just from the passion they have, and some of them even have to pick up another job just to make enough money to support themselves or their family or just to make ends meet.
As a professional athlete right now, and going from one team to another, I can see the different changes just club from club. This could be magnified not only between clubs, but from league to league as well. My own sibling made a professional team in the United States, at one of the highest level leagues in the world and had to pull out because the salary wasn't enough to sustain her.
There are so many perks that athletes received in university that they have grown accustomed to that might not be available to them as a professional athlete. Not only is the lifestyle in itself different (there is no school!), there are so many aspects, mainly those pertaining with convenience, that might have been available in college that are not available in the professional lifestyle.
One big difference is that most athletes move to a particular city just for their professional team. At university you had the opportunity to make friends in your classes that might not be on your team, but as a professional athlete, where day in, day out, you are just with your team and usually nobody else, it is harder to make friends. Stack that with being in an unfamiliar city, and you might have one of the hardest social aspects of the life of a professional athlete. Most athletes don't have the opportunity (or the salary) to move their family or loved ones with them to their city and don't nearly have the salary capable to support their entire family in the first place.
The glamour and stigmas that come with the "life as a professional athlete" might not be all glitter and gold. Though you might not be a professional athlete, maybe the career you have always dreamed of didn't come with all the riches you deserve to be reaping. But don't let that stop you from doing what you are most passionate about. Regardless, through all of the difficulties I face, leaving my family, friends, and relationship behind, regardless of a (way) less than male counterpart salary, moving to another country, etc., I still do it because I love it and that's enough.