Big A Baseball

January 28, 2010 4:16 AM

Let's Retire The Retirement Talk

017fe4d59f2041dab3f53a39a8a2451b.jpgOkay, so Kurt Warner packed it in. I'm surprised he made the decision so quickly after the emotionally and physically taxing loss to the New Orleans Saints. What was the hurry? Oh, right. Us.

As we wait on word from Brett Favre, as the media and fans and bloggers all weigh in with their opinion of will he, won't he, why he should or shouldn't retire, let me just add my two cents... 

It's nobody's business but his own.

No one tells the rest of us when to stop doing what we love. If you had been preparing your entire life for something, had somehow managed to reach the pinnacle of your profession, and knew that whenever you stopped, you'd never get to do it again, ever, how long would you hold on?

How about as long as humanly possible. 

I know I would. Players don't worry about their legacy until they're done playing. It's the rest of us that beat the subject to death and try and decide for them what they should do.

Phil Simms said recently on INSIDE THE NFL that he wants Brett Favre to retire because nothing Favre can do from now on will change his - Simms' - opinion of Favre.

Right, like that's why Favre continues to play - because he's trying to convince Phil Simms of something.

If Favre cared a hoot what any of us think he wouldn't have gone through the yes, no, maybe, okay, routine of the last two years. As frustrating as that was for all of us - and for him as well I imagine - it took a lot of courage to continually change his mind.

He knew he was going to take abuse, ridicule, even taunts, for being so indecisive with HIS career. How dare he change his mind. 

Warren Sapp (and in this case a very appropriate last name) said on the same show that whatever Favre does decide to do, he needs to stop with this 'back and forth' nonsense, and make a quick decision for his team, for the fans, for his family. For HIS family. I'm glad Sapp knows so well what Favre's family wants him to do. 

This stuff kills me. If I ever try and tell you what to do in the interest of YOUR family, please stop me. 

With the exception of a rare few, all great athletes stay on too long. Or even 'worse,' come back after they're done - such as the greatest basketball player of them all, Michael Jordan. You think he cared about his legacy? His legacy was secure for whenever he stopped playing. All he wanted to do was to continue playing.

I wonder how long Shaquille O'Neal will hold on. In a few years it'll be Kobe Bryant's turn to take the heat for tarnishing HIS legacy. What about Dan Marino? He could barely move at the end. Do we think any less of his career?

My point here is let's enjoy them while they're great. Let's root for them while they fade. And let's tolerate them while they deal with the devastating truth that they are no longer what they used to be. They've earned that from us, at least. 

I can only imagine the sense of loss for an elite athlete when the spotlight turns off, the fame fades, the adulation stops. And most of these guys have barely cracked forty, if that.  

There's an expression that says life is for the living. I'd say it applies to athletes as well, i.e. 'sports is for those still playing.' Once they retire, they fade from memory - fast. And if you don't believe that, see how many ex athletes are still doing national commercials.

Yes, we love to watch them. Yes, we live vicariously through them. But that's as far as it goes. We don't get to decide their future for them. And we do not know what it feels like to be them. Never will.

They don't play for us. And they're not going to retire for us. 

So let's all stop asking them to. 

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