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Med School or the NFL?An Exercise in Opportunity Costs

Jean-Philippe Darche was in medical school when his agent called him to let him know he'd been signed as a long snapper by the Toronto Argonauts. He pretty much weighed his opportunities and decided to take a year or two off from medskool to play some football.

As luck would have it, during his first game as an Argo, a teammate fell on his leg and broke it. So Darche, while recovering, was considering his return to medskool.

During that fall, his agent called again to say the Seahawks wanted to give him a tryout.

He figured he was in over his head and his friends agreed. Their advice was: when he got to Seattle and tried out for the Seahawks, he should take as many Seahawks T-shirts and sweat pants as he could stuff into his gym bag. For souvenirs. Just to say he'd actually been there.

No one wanted to be a pessimist, but there was no denying the obvious. Jean-Philippe Darche was Canadian-born and trained in three-down football. He was hardly big (six foot, 246 pounds) and hardly distinguishable from the half-dozen other prospects brought to Seattle's National Football League training facility that day.

Worse yet, Darche was coming off a broken leg, which meant he had to inform his evaluators he couldn't run. That was okay, they assured him. Just bend over that football and snap it.

So he did, and he got a contract. Six years later, Darche is hoping to collect another souvenir, one he can proudly show to his friends back home in Montreal — a Super Bowl ring.

Opportunity costs? Think of them as an investment, too.