I enjoyed this post at Behind The Steel Curtain comparing Jeff Reed's plight as the Steelers' kicker to that of a horn player in an orchestra. If you play the horn, you have to sit for long periods of time, then play very precisely - and if you're not precise, everyone will notice you. As an orchestra musician myself, I've been lucky to be a violinist and violist; those are relatively anonymous, low-pressure orchestra gigs, sort of like offensive linemen (as one commenter suggests).â†µ
But I also spent a summer playing guitar in a pit orchestra, and that was an entirely different beast - one of the shows we played was Showboat, which features a scene in which a woman plays a guitar onstage. The actor didn't play guitar, so I played it beneath the stage while she faked. That was terrifying, because if I messed up even a little, it would be incredibly obvious. I didn't make any mistakes, but my stomach was always tied in knots for about 15 minutes before that scene. And even then, I knew when I would have to play, and I didn't have to do anything that difficult. Reed, by contrast, has endured a lot of criticism even though all the field goals he has missed so far have been over 40 yards. That's part of the job he signed up for, but he (and other kickers) still deserve a little slack.