9.09.2008

I missed all that kissing on the podium...


I don't know why anyone was surprised by the news. How utterly lame and predictable. Yet another athlete who contemplates retirement and hems and haws for months. Then retires. Then unretires, to a grand flourish of excitement and hubbub.

VeloNews reported yesterday that seven-time Tour de France champion, cancer survivor and covert cheater Lance Armstrong was taking himself out of retirement to compete again for world's most coveted cycling championship.

I am, personally, unimpressed. Why can't people say they're going to do something and then actually go through with it, these days? Retiring doesn't mean anything. A person's word doesn't mean anything. Make a commitment. Stick to it. Stop trying to relive glory days or achieve some unachievable milestone or land some hot babe who isn't impressed with seven championships (maybe that eighth one will win her over), or truly aim to make more money than God.

So Armstrong joins the lot of mental losers who just can't stick to a promise, who can't bow out gracefully, who can't say they've had enough -- and mean it. He's right up there with Brett Favre, former Packers QB who left the game after 9 pro bowl selections, 7 all-pro selections, 3 times being named the AP NFL MVP, AND the BIGGIE -- a Super Bowl ring. But golly, it just wasn't enough. So he's back, playing with the Jets. The JETS. That's inspiring for all those Cheeseheads. Leave us to play for a team that went - whoa, hold me back - 4-12 last season. If ever there were a team that needed him...which makes it even worse. He could be their savior. Which might make me throw up.

Who else can't bid adieu and mean it? Perhaps the most famous is Michael Jordan, described on the NBA web site as "the greatest basketball player of all time." That just wasn't enough, apparently. He won NBA titles with Chicago in '91, '92, and '93, then left to pursue a -snicker- career in baseball. When that didn't work out, he rejoined the Bulls and led them to three more championships, '96,'97, and '98. Then retired for the second time, only to return again to play for the Washington Wizards. The who? Yeah. Exactly.

Meanwhile, we normal everyday folk are like, "Are you a moron? You could sun yourself on a beach in a tropical island paradise all day, every day of the year, sipping little umbrella drinks and doing a whole lot of nothing...that's retirement! You're thinking too much about this."

I think this inability to commit, to know when to say when, to say it and mean it, goes far beyond sports venues. I think it has become an epidemic in our country. People are obsessed with keeping their options open. It's what I'd like to call the "grass may be greener over there, in the future, and I like really green grass" effect.

Think about it. Ever seen those billboards on the highway? The ones that promise, in very large letters along with a 1-800 number for fast results, "SAFE, AFFORDABLE VASECTOMY REVERSAL!"

It seems to me that if ever there were something you should be irreversably sure about before going through with it, it's snipping your private parts and forever cutting off the sperm-o supply line. Forever. Or not so much. You decide.

You can always change your mind later.

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