I was at home when my phone rang. It was my agent, David Trent. He was always trying to get me to sign for these endorsement deals. Having spent the last 4 years of my life devoted to Brindleton Bay Llamacorns, all I wanted to do is just play and go home. I didn’t want to get into all these endorsements, but the money was too good to pass up. So I answered his call.
“Serg, I’ve got news for you,” he said excitedly. “San Myshuno FC just made an offer.”
“San Myshuno? I don’t want to leave Brindleton, David….” he cut me off as I started to explain.
“I’m coming over. We have to talk about this.
About an hour later he arrived and we sat down to talk over this offer from San Myshuno.
“Look, they’re offering you twice what you’re making here, Serg. It’s the big leagues, man. No more of this 2nd division crap.” he said.
“But, I like it here,” I said.
“Yeah, but you have two kids and kids are expensive. That, plus I can get you a sweet deal on a nice penthouse in the City. Look, I’m not asking you to make a decision right this minute, but I’ve set up a meeting with Coach Pantusso tomorrow. Let’s talk to him about it. This is how you find out what you mean to the team. If he shrugs it off or seems to let you walk, then you know. If he comes back with a counter offer, then you know where you stand as well. No harm, no foul. Just let me handle everything.”
So I agreed.
“Gentlemen,” the coach said. “Thanks for coming.”
“It’s my pleasure,” David said as he shook coach’s hand.
“Sergio,” the coach said, “you’ve been here for 4 years and you’re our best player. I’ll make this simple: we want you to stay. You’re on 45,000 a week. We can offer to boost that to 74,000 a week. It’s not what San Myshuno is offering, but that’s the best we can do. We are, after all, only in the 2nd division. We don’t have the kind of money they do.”
“That’s not bad,” I said to David.
“Well,’ David said, “I will have to talk with Sergio about the salary, but let’s move onto a signing bonus. As you know, San Myshuno is offering 200,000 signing bonus on a 4-year contract.”
“I do,” the coach said. “And the Board has authorized me to offer sergio 100,000 on a 3-year contract.”
“Less money, fewer years,” David said. “I understand, though. Loyalty is hard to find in this business. The Board wants a loyal player and the players want a team loyal to them. You have been very supporting with Sergio’s young career and I believe Sergio is grateful for all that support.”
“It is,” the coach replied. “But the board isn’t prepared to go any higher on the deal. I’d hate to lose you, Sergio, I really would.”
I sighed, “But, you did just resigned Kemp on a deal almost exactly like San Myshuno is offering me. I mean, if we’re talking about loyalty, seems to me that if you offer that kind of a deal to a guy who only plays half the time I do, there should be something else in there for me considering that I play 90 minutes almost every single game.”
“Well, that’s certainly something we considered, but, I mean, Sergio, you’re 22. You’re not proven at the higher levels. You do a great job, but if we’re being honest here, I’ve seen guys like you before. You start of strong, get the big deal, then after signing the big deal your production falls off and mistakes dominate your game. I think I can safely say this is what Brindleton Bay Llamacorns are willing to pay for a player like you.”
“Like me?” I huffed, “I work my ass off for you. I am the first guy on the pitch to train and the last to leave. I’m the guy you call on when you need another goal to tie it up or take the lead. I mean, I’m only asking to be paid what I’m worth. Hell, other teams like Oasis Springs and Willow Creek are paying more than you are for players like me.”
“And they’re all mortgaging their future to find a way to gain promotion. We’re just not prepared to do that.” Coach replied
“Then I should consider my future,” I said angrily. “If I’m not good enough for you, if I’m not worth what other players are in my position, then maybe…. Maybe I should sign with San Myshuno.”
David tried to calm me down, but my mind was made up at that point. “Look, Serg,” David said, “this isn’t going to solve anything.”
“Coach, I’m sorry, but I can’t accept your offer.” I said. “I’m going to sign with San Myshuno.”