Saying goodbye


It is widely understood that the career of professional athletes is much shorter than that of people with more traditional, non-athletic jobs.

With that in mind, I still was unprepared for the recent barrage of sports stars whose bodies have started to break down.

Last month it was Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz who dominated the news cycle by announcing that 2016 would be his last season of swatting home runs and entertaining baseball fans from here to his native Dominican Republic.

Then, the legendary and record setting NFL quarterback Peyton Manning was injured and subsequently benched. Although no formal announcement has come from Manning or the Denver Broncos organization, the man famous for his #18 jersey number and intricate audibles looks to be one hard hit away from literally falling apart.

The going-away parties didn’t stop there. Of course, Kobe Bryant garnered some of the first positive news of his abysmal 2015-16 season by penning a goodbye letter to the game of basketball.

His decision to walk away from the game this spring has inspired a wave of nostalgic tributes and memories of Kobe’s incredible prime, taking some of the focus away from his atrocious 21 percent shooting clip on three pointers this year.

Finally, and perhaps the most low key of all, was Tiger Woods’ revelation that he doesn’t know when he will play golf again.

These retirements hit very close to home for me. Not only because the men stepping away are some of the greatest to ever play their respective sports, but also because of the longevity of their illustrious careers.

Ortiz hit his first big league home run before Bill Clinton was impeached.

Manning has been a starting NFL quarterback longer than I’ve been in school; not college, school in general.

Kobe has made over 8,200 free throws during his 20 year run in the NBA. I’ve only been on Earth for 7,460 days.

Finally, the incomparable Tiger Woods won his first Masters when I was still mastering the concept of walking.

It seemed fitting that before the USD Vista retires for the semester, we honor the great sportsmen who will be doing the same.