May 22, 2013

THE OTHER WAY OF STOPPING.

DONOVAN McNabb and Brian Urlacher walk into a bar. Turns out the bar isn't hiring either.

Weird existence being an athlete. You either stay too long and have people close doors in your face or you leave on your own terms and wonder "What if I had stayed a little longer? What if I have played one more year?" until the day they put you in the ground.

No one ever admits to asking it, but you can ALWAYS see it, right there in their eyes when they're asked if they ever do. It's not regret exactly. It's more like 'The Princess and the Pea'. Even when you're mostly comfortable, you can still feel that damned pea. You see it in people's eyes sometimes, and it comes up after a couple of beers during the game. It's even worse when you still are reasonably still in the shape or at the age where you can still play. Then they ask you outright if you will. Your reasons on one side, the Devil and all his minions on the other. 

But to be told to hang it up? To be quietly and politely shown the door, like a familiar old man who's wandered it the wrong building yet again?? I can't imagine the assault on one's pride that must be. How unfair it must feel, even if it happens to be right. 

It's a shame there are no other ways to leave other than to be dragged away or feel one day that maybe. just maybe, you may have left something out there.

 

10 Comments:
  • It's simple. Leave the game like Dawkins left it. On his own terms, with his wits still with him, and with no regrets. Football is a young mans game. At least McNabb has already transitioned to that next phase of his career and he has a vault full of money for his children and his children's children. His ego maybe dinged, but his wallet can make up for it.
  • Half of this post was about the nagging regret of walking away on your own terms. That "no regrets" line is a frequently used one, but just listen to Heath Evans and Darren Sharper. The next time Warren Sapp gets to talking about trench warfare just LOOK at him.

    If it was ever in you, it dies with you. It's not something that shuts off because of a birth certificate, or an imaginary expiration date.

    It's a shame there's no way to bleed it all out. To NOT stay to the point of embarrassment. To walk away and see the game and simply smile at it's beauty. To NOT be Rocky in his basement punching with a Tommy Gunn and a game that moved on without him.

    Be nice to be able shut it off sometimes. If only for a little while.
  • That is what makes them the people they are. If they were to shut it off they wouldn't be them. Now they could continue to focus on trying to make something happen that wont or they can channel that energy into something else. They have plenty of other outlets to choose from. To start with they can focus more on their families. Those who have loved them the most have had to deal with them away from long periods of time.
  • [not displayed: comment from locked account]
  • Thanks Spots! It was easy to write as at 37 I'm STILL dealing with it.

    I can still do EVERYTHING I could at 30 (when I hung it up), and when we drive by a game... Plus we used to start camp in May, so this time of year I always feel like I should be somewhere. AND I ONLY PLAYED FOR 3 YEARS! And it was never my dream to go pro.

    I can't begin to know what it must feel like to do 4 years of high school, 4 of college, and 13 pro (as Urlacher did) and suddenly have doors closed in your face. 21 of his 34 years on God's Earth have been spent in pads competitively. And now it's just gone.

    I walked on my own terms, but I know that emptiness. Not to the degree that he HAS to be experiencing right now, but I do know it.
  • Spots didn't he leave Philly 3 or 4 years ago? Why would he build in this area if he were leaving. Say what you will but the Eagles made McNabb a millionaire 100 times over! That's an absolute fact. If McNabb no longer decided to build a home in you area it's not due to a lack of money. What would be the purpose of building a home in a place he doesn't live? Moreover the fact that he's been here since 99, but lived in Arizona made it fairly clear that he never fully embraced the Philly area. McNabb is a smart man. Trust me he has money and it would only make sense for him not to waste money building a house he would never use.
  • [not displayed: comment from locked account]
  • I always thought you'd made that perfectly clear with all the ASU references, and comments about how you think the sun is baking peoples brains out there.
  • Interesting. Well he does already have a home there. I still believe he has a lot of money!
  • [not displayed: comment from locked account]
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