Sunday, February 20, 2011

Little Jackie Favre??

Every time an older athlete mulls over the decision to retire there is a large segment of the public and the sports media that urge the player to quit while they are still at or near the top of their game. People wonder why the Roger Clemens, Brett Favres, and others keep changing their mind and unretiring.

Personally I don't buy into the idea that a player should retire to maintain their image. If they can still contribute to a team then all the more power to them. Why should they give it up if they still want to play and are good enough, even if they aren't as good as they once were. As for unretiring, I completely understand that and I think all those who make fun of those that unretire have never been in those players shoes. Little Jackie Showers has. I may have to pay for my shoes and be in no danger of getting paid to play, but I understand where their hearts are. After all it is the heart and not the mind that brings you back to play again.

I have always loved to play sports and as I age it gets harder to participate. Injuries and aches take some of the fun out of playing, but the longing to play is still there. The boy inside the man doesn't always grow up. If old guys love to play then why should they give it up? Just so other old guys can remember them as they were in their prime? I say not! I've already unretired from slo-pitch once and thanks to a funny thing that happened today, I may unretire from another sport as well.

This morning while out on a walk with the Missus we passed some guys playing a game of pick-up football. My friends and I played Saturday morning pick-up football for over twenty years before finally giving it up. As I watched them playing I said to the Missus that I really, really missed playing. Just a passing thought at the time, with no plan to address it. After that things got freakishly coincidental.

One hour later I drive my son to his high school musical rehearsal (good tickets still available at press time) and as we pull into the parking lot I see some more guys playing football on that field too. And these are old guys! I park the car and realize I even know one of the old guys. I get out and walk over to the fence to check things out and maybe find out if this is a regular game. The first guy who sees me, someone I don't even know, asks if I want to play. Just like that. He lends me his extra cleats and before I can let reason get in the way I'm lacing them up and I'm in the game.

These old guys were anywhere from late 30's to 60 and it turns out they've been playing this Sunday morning game for over twenty years (much like my defunct group). This week for the first time they were playing at my son's school. How's that for a fluke. The day that I'm pining for football, a group that's old enough for me and wants players, falls into my lap. I think I'll be back next week and I don't care what the sportswriters say.

5 comments:

  1. I still think you should hold out for speed walking football (for old guys).

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  2. Good for you Jack. You are waay too young to retire from sports. It's about time you got back in the game. Take it easy on the old guys on the team.
    PS
    You do realize though that you will have to put up with a lot more passing from your team mates and I'm talking about wind not footballs.

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  3. Go Jack go! Will you be wearing tube socks while playing? xelA.

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  4. I thought you were going to take up lawn bowling in your middle age? You could even wear your best white tube socks.

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  5. I tried lawn bowling and while I see great potential for this game in my future, I was stymied by the rules against trash talking at the club I had joined.

    I am sure in another twenty years that lawn bowling etiquette will evolve and allow for my behaviour.

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