Penny Hardaway recently announced that he would like to come back and play for the Miami Heat, and a couple days later turned 39 years old. Brett Favre has made it an annual tradition to teeter between retirement and just one more NFL season seemingly until the opening day.
Earlier today two more people in sports made the tough decision to say enough is enough. Softball icon Jennie Finch decided that this would be her last season pitching, and Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella decided that he was not returning for next season.
All of these recent retirements and the possibility of retirees returning to the game begs the question, when should a player or coach move on from the sport he or she loves?
As much as I am the first to complain that the decision making process of Brett Favre bores me so far beyond tears that I need Visine, when the man picks up a football and suits up, he plays with a competitiveness that makes even the most salty of Green Bay fans remember the good old days. Favre may be the most highly exposed of the athletes that seem to struggle with letting go of the game when they near the end of their career, but he is definitely not the only one that has the joyous struggle of deciding when enough is enough.
Every sport has them, yet some of them seem to come and go, dealing time and again with the decision. Some, like former San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds, simply avoid making the decision altogether, choosing to simply avoid an official announcement.
As much as it may seem that it might be easy decision, to give up the game that has provided you with your well being is obviously not easy at any level. From an athlete’s perspective, the line between contributing on the field or from on the sidelines with your experience is a blurred one.
As a fan, it’s easy to overlook when a favorite player should have called it quits too. There is however, one thing that will never get old to see as a sports fan, whether it is from an athlete or a coach.
If Penny comes back and contributes, so be it, however with a lineup as star-studded as the Heat, it seems that Hardaway might be better off in a coaching role. If Favre can go another year, fans will put up with “the decision process” and all that it entails if he comes out and plays with the passion that he did last year, not to mention it was almost enough to get the Vikings to the Super Bowl.
I think it’s fair to say, if you are playing with heart and not for the paycheck, most fans want to see you out there. That is what got them through their careers in the first place isn’t it?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.