The big criticism about Dante Pettis coming out of college (via University of Washington) wasn’t his interest in football, but his interest outside of it. Pettis is a true renaissance man, with passions in photography, art, literature, and a whole lot of other things that have little to do with football.
This of course made scouts worry if Pettis was really serious about this football thing given his love of the arts.
Pettis recently penned an article in The Players Tribune talking about his various outside interests and how he has learned to pursue them while still involved with football not without it. This is largely because of an interaction with film director Spike Lee:
After the presentation, I was fortunate enough to get a chance to talk with Spike for a little while one-on-one. I told him I was a professional football player, but that, “You know, I’m a bunch of other things, too.”
He sort of cocked his head to the side when he heard that — like he was waiting for me to say more.
“Eventually, I want to write movies,” I told him. “I just really love creative expression. So I want to eventually write movies. And books. Like novels. And I also love photography, too. But, yeah, eventually I want to be creating really amazing stories for the whole world to take in and enjoy.”
Just like with that question during the Q&A session, Spike was ready to jump in before I even finished.
I nodded … super cautiously.
“Man, why do you say ‘eventually’? What’s up with that?”
I didn’t quite know what to say.
“What are you waiting for?” he continued. “Why don’t you start right now? Start writing those stories! Get them down on paper. Don’t wait, man.”
I tried to explain that football takes up most of my time, and that I was a pretty busy guy overall. But Spike wasn’t having it.
“What about the offseason?” he shot back. “And I know you guys have an off day every week, right? Come on now.”
As an aspiring fiction writer myself, I can totally see how finding 10 minutes to write a day is a chore, or even worse, seems pointless. It’s especially hard to do it when you have no idea if anyone is really going to read anything about Trad Jenisis, Andrea Shalimar, or any other crazy characters involved in wacky plots that I’ve conjured. Pettis has his name to back him up, but getting the inspiration to stay disciplined is very hard.
Pettis goes on in the article to point out that he’s happy to have found passions that he can indulge in when football is over. Which is something he finds himself to be fortunate to have. Too many times people live, breath, and bleed football. So much that when it’s over, they don’t know what to do with themselves now that the game they worshipped is no longer around.
Pettis pens a very good article about insight and not having a life completely dominated by the game, which is something many could relate to. Plus he talks about cats—and we all know when we think of Pettis, we think of cats.