Hey Andrew Luck haters: Let people live their lives
Life's a funny thing. We go about our daily tasks and never pause to think about things. More often than not, we rarely stop to smell the roses and appreciate everything. These days, we've become so task-oriented and focused that we forget what life is all about. Andrew Luck decided to do that and people got their panties all in a bunch over it. He's a 29 year old athlete who was seemingly on top of the world. He just won Comeback Player of the Year and led his team to the Divisional round of the playoffs last season. He's made upwards of $97 million dollars in his career thus far. Don't forget about his Bachelor's Degree in Architectural Design from Stanford. He got married earlier this year to his longtime girlfriend and recently announced they're expecting their first child.
While his retirement may come as a shock to many, it shouldn't. Other notable athletes have retired "prematurely" before Luck did. My guess is that the timing caused most of the kerfuffle. Was anyone this upset when Barry Sanders or Calvin Johnson left the Lions? To a much lesser extent, did anyone get upset when Royce White stepped away from the NBA? Adam LaRoche turned down $13 million dollars from the White Sox over an issue concerning his son. Did he catch as much flack as Luck? Here are a few common themes as to why guys leave the game early:
Money isn't a factor
Today's pro athletes are getting paid exponentially more than athletes have ever gotten paid. There are also tons more revenue streams for them outside of the sport in which they became famous for. Social media has abled them to build a brand for themselves to capitalize on their fame. The athletes of today have more than enough money and ways to make money.
With the advancements in medical technology, athletes today have access to more information about their bodies and injuries than ever before. Knowing the depth of an injury and likelihood of it happening again or worsening can cause you to rethink things. Guys like Luck are fully aware of what's going on with their bodies and choose long-term health over short-term fame and glory. Patrick Willis did the same thing a few years ago when he retired from the 49ers. A nagging toe injury made him walk away from the game when he was still in his prime. Football players are typically the ones who this happens to.
Like I mentioned earlier, Adam LaRoche turned down $13 million dollars from the White Sox over an issue with his son. Willis was the primary caregiver for his younger siblings. Luck just got married and has a kid on the way. Jrue Holiday of the Pelicans stepped away for a while to care for his wife who was battling cancer. Dereck Fisher once facilitated his way back to the Lakers from the Jazz because his daughter's medical treatments were in Los Angeles. These guys all chose family over the games they play for one reason or another. Female athletes have it tougher than men. They want families of their own, but often time have to miss significant portions of their careers to have babies. Serena Williams is trying to come back after having a baby, but is already almost twice the age of some of her competition.
More than a game
Some of these guys have a depth of personality that most of us don't. They have an ability to see the bigger picture of life and go wit their gut. Like it or not, Colin Kaepernick knew what he was getting himself into, but chose to do what he believed felt was necessary. Pat Tillman walked away from the NFL to serve in the Army and gave his life in the process. Myron Rolle was an All-American safety at Florida State who was drafted in the sixth round by the Titans. He was also a Rhodes Scholar that eventually chose academia over football and is now a neurosurgery resident at Harvard Medical School.
Sometimes we as fans can obsess over what athletes do. The booing of Luck after the game the other night was horsesh--. This man made a decision that's best for him and his family. So what if your football team sucks again! What about him living his life the way he sees fit? Sometimes we have to realize there's a person inside those lines wearing those uniforms. They have feelings and lives like the rest of us and deserve to live them the way they see fit. Many of them walk off the beaten path. People like that are generally smart, funny, and fun to be around. They should be apperciated and celebrated. I know because my little cousin Vincent who recently passed away was one of those people. Love them while they're here. Appreciate their athletic prowess while they play. One day, they could be gone and you'll never get a chance to do so again.