They say that one of the hardest things for an athlete to do when it comes time to hang it up is to get used to the silence. There is a rush associated with a stadium full of people cheering for you (or booing you) and a camaraderie you feel with the guys they play with. It is why Willie Mays hobbled to the plate in a Mets uniform. It is the reason Brett Favre treated retirements like Kim Kardashian relationships.
That silence is why you hear a lot of former athletes getting into gambling problems or making bad business decisions. They hope they can feel the rush of competition once more time.
So when you see an athlete step away from the game on his terms, it is heartbreaking knowing a huge part of who he is will no longer exist the following week. This was clear if you watch the Miami Dolphins Jason Taylor’s post game speech after defeating the rival Jets and ending their season.
Powerful stuff. I mean, he was emotional about Matt Moore. Matt Freakin’ Moore.
He tells the young guys to cherish the game that was so good to him. Makes you think that you can apply that to anything. He has done Dancing With the Stars and will surely try to get into television or acting, but nothing will replace that rush. Let’s hope he can deal with it better than somebody like Tiki Barber did.
Now is he a hall of famer? That is a story for another time.