Was it sadness I saw when I looked up? Heartbreak? Grief, even? Surely not, after all these years. "So tell me," I blurted, untrained in any methods of subtlety, "How do you move on in life after being a great athlete?"

    "You don’t."

    Now, finally, I was silent. You don’t. No more banana peppers to crunch, no more unpitted olives to gnaw on. I picked up a package of Saltines and stared down hard at my plastic task of unwrapping.

    "But I thought you were going to teach me how to transition to the next phase of my life," I begged.

    "I never did," Jack answered. "It’s as if someone accidentally died and I never got the chance to say what I wanted to say . . . to say good-bye."

wasoxygen, WanderingEng...whomever else. Great read.


WanderingEng:

Thanks for tagging me. I enjoyed this.

    After a time, I finally got around to the subject of athletic retirement. "Did you ever have a tough time with it?" I asked. "No, no not really," he said, pausing for the first time in the interview. "I was an angry person internally. I had injuries that kept me from doing other things I wanted to do (an Olympic medal, for one) and that angered me. But I could always come back and justify and somewhat soften the anger by saying ‘Well, I did enough. I really wasn’t destined to do everything. I was destined to do what I did do and part of that was the indoor 4-minute mile.’ I would have liked to have done other things, but what I did was okay."

There were a couple parts that stood out to me, but this more than others for reasons that aren't really about running. At the risk of oversharing: I'm 36, single, and living alone with my two cats. In my formative years, I thought I would grow up, have a job, get married, have kids. It isn't what I thought I wanted; it's what I thought everyone did. I wasn't in favor of it, and I wasn't against it. That path was like a third inevitability along with death and taxes. But now as I move through the ages where people do things like that, I find myself comfortable on a different path. There were times where I was angry internally, where I was frustrated by myself. When I look back on my 20s, I think I did enough. I think when I look back on these last few years, I'll feel similarly. What I did was ok.


posted by ButterflyEffect: 243 days ago