I don’t know about you but when football season starts back up again, I am like a kid in a candy store. I love the game itself, the tribe the game creates with all of your fellow fans, and the excuse to sit in front of the TV every Sunday and just relax and spend time with family and friends. Darius Rucker said “There’s two times of year for me: football season, and waiting for football season.” Yep, Darius Rucker gets me.
Those of you that also share my love for football probably know that two weeks ago the Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck unexpectedly retired from football at just 29 years old. Luck was the number one overall draft pick in 2012 and played for the Colts for seven seasons. To say that Luck’s stats those seven years were impressive would be an understatement. His retirement came as a huge surprise to most football fans and was devastating to thousands of loyal Colts fans that believed this was their year to have a real shot at making it to the Super Bowl. Now, I am not a Colts fan, to be clear, I am a Broncos girl through and through, but I can imagine what the Colt’s fans must be feeling. I have some dear friends that are diehard Colts fans and I have a feeling they are not going to agree with what I have to say next. That’s ok though, our friendship runs deeper than football. :)
Luck’s abrupt retirement and subsequent 24 minute emotional press conference struck me for several reasons. Throughout Luck’s press conference Luck took the time to thank many people that have helped him get to where he is today. He mentioned current and former coaches, players, the Colt’s security team, the cafeteria staff, the Colt’s owner, the city of Indianapolis, and the fans. His gratitude was evident and anyone that was watching could see that he knows he didn’t make it this far on his own. There were countless others that supported him and helped him become one of the most talented quarterbacks in the league. I am sure the support from those people made his decision to retire that much more difficult. But here's the thing, at the end of the day, the decision was Lucks and Lucks alone. He knew that he was going to take all kinds of heat when he announced that he was walking away from football at such a young age with such a bright future ahead. Oh and by the way, he also walked away from $58 million in the last two years of his contract. If you ask me, that takes some serious courage.
Luck was living in a constant cycle of injury, pain, and rehab and he knew he had to make a change. For him, that change meant giving up the game he loves and disappointing hundreds of thousands of fans. It certainly wasn’t an easy thing for him to do but he knew in his heart and soul that it was the right thing for him. He chose himself and his own family over the team, the fans, and the game of football. Good for him. Luck realizes something many of us never do. He understands that we only get one shot at the thing called life and he wasn’t going to waste any more time stuck in a situation that wasn’t making him happy. Luck lost his joy for the game and instead of sticking around and playing through the pain, he decided to do something about it. Andrew Luck recognizes that the only person who could truly control his destiny was Andrew Luck. Again, good for him.
Eventually, the noise will die down surrounding Luck. His legacy as an NFL quarterback might always be tarnished because he chose to walk away from the game he loved to focus on himself and his family, but I have a feeling when the dust settles Luck’s legacy will also include this: Be brave, be courageous, even if you are standing alone.
Now, Andrew Luck is obviously in a very different financial situation that most people are. He will still be able to put food on the table for his family and take care of those he loves, even though he is currently unemployed. I am not suggesting that if you don’t like your job and you are 19, 29, or even 59 years old that you simply make the decision to retire, although it sure would be nice if you could. I am suggesting, that the thing in your life that seems absolutely crazy or impossible, simply is not. You are ultimately the only person that can control your destiny. Sure, many other people influence our decisions and our lives but at the end of the day, YOU, and only YOU are the only person in charge of your happiness. If life isn’t going the way that you planned it and you need to make a change, make the change. Make the change even if those around you think that you are crazy. Make the change even if people are going to talk about you, boo you off the field, or judge you for your decision. I hate to break it to you, but people are going to judge you anyway. At the end of each day, you have to lay your head down on your pillow at night and only you can decide what is best. Andrew Luck retired from football to the shock of millions, but I am guessing he sleeps amazing this Sunday night.