And sometimes, they come true even after the dream has died.
Such is the case for impressive young receiver Charles Dillon.
Dillon was signed by the Colts as an undrafted free agent out of Washington State in 2008. A groin injury suffered early in training camp ended his stint in Indianapolis before the first preseason game. He was put on injured reserve, waived with an injury settlement and was out of football until catching on with Spokane (Wash.) of arenafootball2 for the 2009 season.
"It's been a long road for me," Dillon told Packer Report. "It's just a blessing to be here. I didn't think I was going to get another shot in the NFL. I was back home just doing nothing, really. Just working out, staying in shape and I got a call from the Packers. It's just a blessing to be here. It was unbelievable. I wasn't even thinking about football — just living in the real world and working and I got a phone call from the Pack to come out here in March for a workout."
Had it not been for that phone call, Dillon would be working construction with his dad and doing some electronics work with his uncle. Chances are, he would have returned to Spokane, which is playing for the arena championship on Saturday. Instead, he got that surprise phone call from the Packers.
"You don't want to just be working a 9-to-5 each day when, every day, you're thinking about football and your passion and what you really love to do," Dillon said. "I feel like the real world is the reason why I'm working as hard as I'm working right now and doing the things I'm doing, because I know I don't want to go back to that."
Dillon's story speaks to the fickle world of scouting and the educated guesswork involved. Dillon was a good player at Spokane, to be sure, but he wasn't all-world or anything. His 75 receptions ranked third on a team that had one receiver catch 116 passes and another with 108.
"We look everywhere," general manager Ted Thompson said on Tuesday. "We knew about him before but then we did some arena tape and liked what we saw. We brought him in for a workout and signed him."
Receivers coach Jimmy Robinson likes what he's seen. By signing in March, Dillon had a head-start on the team's three undrafted rookies in learning the offense. He's picked things up quickly, with Robinson working the 6-foot, 202-pound Dillon everywhere from the outside to the slot. The tight quarters of the indoor game have helped Dillon develop into a good route runner.
"It certainly beats not playing," Robinson said. "I don't know the level of competition that he played against, but you can see why he would be a guy that would be successful in that league. They play both ways, he's a tough kid, he's durable, he's got some good size to him. He's got the toughness to play the special teams and tackling ability and stuff like that."
With that said, Dillon faces an uphill battle. Obviously, Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, James Jones and Jordy Nelson are locks for four spots. Usually, the Packers keep five receivers, but there's no guarantee they will this year. If they do keep five, Brett Swain would be the front-runner. Swain, who beat out popular and productive Ruvell Martin last year, was making his mark on special teams until suffering a torn ACL at Cleveland in October. Swain worked with the No. 1 units on punt return and kickoff return on Thursday while Dillon is with the No. 2s on those units.
"I feel I'm doing better each day and just learning, sticking in the playbook," Dillon said. "At the same time, my main focus is special teams. Coach McCarthy already said we don't need receivers. We need special teams players who can play receiver. My main focus is concentrate on special teams and the second thing is receiver."
Agree or disagree?: Discuss hot Packers topics in our, free forums. Leave Bill a question in the subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum.
Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.