I was talking to a friend yesterday and we were talking Seinfeld (by the way, I am seeing Jerry Seinfeld in Macon on February 1 and I am very excited). We were talking about how great of a TV show that is, and how even though towards the end it wasn’t as good, it still was one of the few shows that went out on top.
Folks have a hard time hanging it up, realizing they are past their prime and not going out on top. You see it all the time. My beloved show The Office is a perfect example. I watch now out of respect and a few laughs here and there, but by and large, it should have ended when Steve Carell called it quits. How many crappy movies is Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone going to make?
You see it all the time in sports. Rarely does someone after they are past their prime have resurgence. I think what has happened with Joe Paterno turning his ship around is the exception, not the rule. He teams were competitive after his slump in the early 2000s (not going to get in the whole Sandusky thing, that is not the point here). Bobby Bowden comes to mind as a coach who was too stubborn to retire and was eventually shoved out the door. His final home game was against Maryland, and no one knew this would be his last home game. Someone with the dedicated career of Bobby Bowden should have had sometime of farewell tour, and he didn’t get the chance to tip his hat to the fans postgame. Even our own Vince Dooley, in the controversy that surrounded his exit as AD, probably should have retired sooner to move the athletic department forward and not have it come to making someone else make the decision for him.
Hall of Fame athletes don’t know when to quit and keep hanging around until they are unceremoniously sent packing. Jerry Rice ended a brilliant NFL career basically being cut by the Denver Broncos. Emmitt Smith also comes to mind. Even my beloved Greg Maddux, who is the best pitcher in the history of baseball, retired following the 2008 season after he was clearly not the same pitcher he was during his days in Atlanta. Even the great Michael Jordan couldn’t stay away and came back to a forgettable stint with the Wizards.
I watched WWE Raw Monday night and the Nature Boy Ric Flair made an appearance. He is broke and needs money, so he comes out and tries to do things he is physically unable to do anymore. Hulk Hogan still tries to get out there and rassle. It is just not good to see.
What we are seeing from Tony Gonzalez and Ray Lewis is another exception. Both of them are one or two games away from the end of their careers. Side note-why Ray Lewis is getting all of the fanfare and not Gonzalez is a little off to me. Sure, Ray Lewis is a phenomenal athlete. But Tony Gonzalez hasn’t been an accessory to murder, either.
The retirement of Kyle King from blogging is the rare feat in sports. Kyle is hanging up his keyboard on his own terms. Only a few people can call it quits while they are in their prime. More people should take a cue from Kyle King and ride off in the sunset before they embarrass themselves.