Today, the TV announcers were discussing how impressed they were with Kurt Warner playing through his chest injury. One of them said, “I think Kurt Warner is gonna come back. There is nothing that can fill that void after you retire.” Not sure about either one of those comments. Adam Schefter reports nay on the first. As for the second….
I remember listening to the Michael Kay Show about how Wayne Chrebet said he was willing to take a few years away from his life to be able to play another year of football. If doctors hadn’t forced Wayne to stay off the field, many think he could have been either seriously injured or died. Yet, I am not sure he would be the only one to make such a decision either.
The NFL and its Commissioner, Roger Goodell, have been taking a lot of flak lately for not taking care of their players regarding major injuries esp. concussions. I don’t think the issue is as clear-cut as the NFL doesn’t care about its players. Many of these players who go out there and play choose to put themselves at great risk, willingly do so. An injury that causes a player to be out for the season is largely unsurprising to the average fan and par for the course in the NFL. What do you tell a player who got his “bell rung” if he wants to go back in the game? Not sure where you draw the line here since any hard rule will definitely interfere with the autonomy of players who are willing to put themselves out there. Like it or not, for some people like Wayne, football was life.
I do believe the NFL and its players union need to address a few issues:
1) Offer better assistance to many of the retirees who are severely disabled and indigent. A lot of old-timers who set the foundation for making the game what it was deserve some sort of help, especially since its due to the very sport they played and grew.
2) Teach players better about financial management. I think a lot of players are not careful to foresee their occupation leads to a lot of long-term issues. A lot of players find themselves often bankrupt/homeless etc. so one could imagine some might not even think about worsening disabilities or chronic pain. Not sure you can force players to set aside money if he wants to spend it on bling and Patron, but again maybe the NFL is not doing its end to inform.
3) Have the players union set up an insurance/pension pool where players can take care of its most severely injured or debilitated members.
Back to the void though. I do think something can fill that void.
Remember Michael Jordan’s Hall of Fame speech? Don’t worry if you didn’t, I’d rather buy Preparation H and Immodium AD from the cute Walgreen’s girl than watch that again. MJ essentially defecated on everyone around him. If you watch the clips you’ll meet a man who still can’t grasp he’s not the King of the NBA anymore. You wonder why the greatest player ever, a man who should have no insecurity about his legacy, was still trying to settle scores with former rivals, was still stepping on other people’s accomplishments. Watching that puerile display, I wouldn’t have been surprised if he dropped his pants and challenged everyone to a penis-measuring contest.
Adrian Wojnarowski writes, “Jordan revealed himself to be strangely bitter. You won, Michael. You won it all. Yet he keeps chasing something that he’ll never catch, and sometimes, well, it all seems so hollow for him. ” 10 years ago, everyone wanted to be like Mike. I think he knows 50 years from now, he won’t be transcendental MJ. His legacy will survive as a statue, a video clip, or montage that says best ever, but he knows he won’t quite capture the imagination of those future generations. What does this mean for the rest of us, who have no chance to even be like MJ? C’est la vie (French words are always deliciously gratuitous and pretentious)
Nope. Let’s go back to Warner, one of my favorite players. Every time the man gets interviewed, production crews are trying to run a play-action to make sure he doesn’t thank his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on national television. Is he not a fiery competitor? Does he not care about winning? I don’t think anyone could say that. Yet, I am not sure retiring will leave such a void in his heart.
Pascal wrote about these voids. I often mis-quoted Pascal, so I’ll write the real quote:
“What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself”
I am not saying people without JC will suddenly be as petty as MJ. But give me Kurt over MJ any day. More on “God-shaped vacuums” later.