My Nickel’s Worth

I won’t always write about sports in this column, but when I do, I …. Seriously though, something has been on my mind all weekend, concerning how we make decisions which impact the future of our individual lives.

On Saturday night of August 24th, one of my favorite football players, Andrew Luck, retired from the National Football League. This came as such a shock to me, given that, at a mere 29 years old, he was one of the top quarterbacks in the league, and potentially one of the best who ever played the game. A number of quarterbacks play well into their 30swith some even playing into their early 40s. My first reactions were, “he is wasting such an opportunity to play a game for such much money,” and “he is really letting down his team by doing this to them now right as the season is about to begin;” however, the more I thought about it, this is his life, we do not know his personal struggles and goals for the entirety of his life.

Luck was drafted number one overall by the Indianapolis Colts in the 2012 NFL Draft, and so far he has lived up to every bit of the hype that has surrounded him since then, although it has not come without plenty of obstacles. As gifted as Luck was, early on his career he was surrounded with a quality offensive line, which led to Luck taking some brutal hits time and time again. Throughout his , he tore cartilage in his ribs, suffered a partially torn abdomen, at least one concussion, a lacerated kidney, a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder, and most recently an ankle injury from which he has not been able to recover for a few months.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized how difficult that would be for a regular person who does not play sports. While being a professional athlete at the highest level, Luck is still a mere mortal -- just like you and me, going through pain that people might not endure in 10 lifetimes. That alone made me realize that I do not blame him at all for making a decision for his own life, given that, although professional football is just a game, it is also a job and a business.

Luck went on to say in his retirement press conference Saturday night, “I haven’t been able to live the life I want to live. It’s taken the joy out of this game. …The only way forward for me is to remove myself from football.” When Luck talks about the joy being taken away, he is a referring to his injuries. For instance, Luck missed the entire 2017 season with that torn labrum.

As a fan, my initial thoughts were, first, what a waste of great potential to earn a few hundred million dollars and, second, how his abrupt retirement affects the Colts in the upcoming season. We must keep life in proper perspective. There are greater endeavors in life than sacrificing your physical health for a game. He has given 20 years to football since he was a child, accumulating over 100 million dollars in career earnings in the NFL – all the while serving as a leader on and off the field. He has earned the right to make this decision for himself and his family. We should be happy for him, and learn a lesson from his retirement. Whether a professional athlete, or a regular person, we ought to make decisions that are best for our future, regardless of any criticism we might receive. You and I have only one life to live, so live it well. Farewell Captain Luck, and thank you for reminding us to always keep our priorities straight.

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