Moving along ...
Don't laugh at how today's DC topic came about - or if you must, at least do it behind my back. You all know that I'm an ardent pro wrestling fan, and this past week was an important one in the industry. Shawn Michaels (a.k.a. The Heartbreak Kid) retired from wrestling last Sunday, after a storied career that spanned nearly three decades. For those not in the know, he's one of the greatest wrestlers - heck, performers - of all time, so wrestling fans are hurtin'. Sure, retirements in wrestling almost never last; they're more like extended hiatuses. (Over on Twitter, jewell pointed out that this isn't unique to wrestling. Some of the lovely ladies of the WTA seem to have caught the "Psych!" bug.) But there was something about this one that was different, and I'd be surprised if it didn't stick.I'm a big crybaby, so the retirement (and his farewell speech the following night) had me running around the house looking for more Kleenex. And I don't even like the guy that much! But it also got me to thinking about other retirements that have had an effect on us. (In sport, predominantly, though of course we see them in other arenas as well.) Am I just a sap or have others been touched by similar goodbyes?
Digging a little deeper, I wondered about the factors that come into play that make one farewell more gut-wrenching than another. The actual retirement announcement is one; somehow it's easier to bid adieu to an athlete or entertainer who bows out quietly, maybe just by issuing a formal statement or gradually fading into oblivion. On the other hand, when we witness a retirement speech like Agassi's at the US Open, that's when the reality hits that we're experiencing a loss, that things will never be the same again. Then there are the reasons behind the retirement, like a career-ending injury, wanting to pursue new ventures, or "it's just the right time." Which ones are easiest to accept?
Let's not forget the condition of the retirees, too. Are they still at the top of their (or the) game (see: Henin)? Or are they putting themselves out to pasture, being shadows of their former selves (see: Safin)? The former would seem to have a greater impact, or maybe it's all about longevity - as in, we're more compelled when an old hand calls it quits, despite his/her present condition or rank.I could continue my retirement ruminating, but instead, I'll turn it over to you. Tell us about a retirement - in whatever field you can think of, like sport, music, or film - that's moved you. What did that person mean to you and how did the departure change your feelings for the field to which (s)he belonged? If it hasn't happened yet, come up with a retirement you dread coming to fruition. (Let's see how many Fed and Rafa mentions we get. Just no knife fights!)
Match calls here are fine, at least 'til we get another Crisis Center thread up. Take care, guys!