06 March, 2011

The gift that does not keep giving:

Follow hoogenband0110 on Twitter
HARD DECISION:   Ronaldo "cried like a child" after deciding to retire
Anyone who loved playing football but was forced to stop due to old age and creaking limbs will have under - stood exactly what 34 year-old Ronaldo experienced before his retirement. Explaining his reasons for quitting the game he so dearly loves, the three-time World Footballer of the Year said: "I wanted to continue, but I can't. I think of an action, but I can't do it the way I want to. It's time."
The realisation that the legs no longer follow the impulses of the mind can be a harrowing time for a sportsman. In the days before confirming his retirement, Ronaldo admitted that he "cried like a child."
The truth is that a true footballer never really grows up.  At heart he remains the young boy who gains endless pleasure from the simple act of putting his foot to a ball. It should be stated that not all footballers share this deep seated love for the game. Many players like football simply because they are good at it. The game provides them with recognition and status. Once their powers start to fade, they have no problem calling it a day. These individuals rarely go to games or take an active interest in their clubs. They are more common than you might think.
SAD DAY:   Devenney exitting centre stage
Then there are the Ronaldos of this world, who wholeheartedly worship a sport which they also happen to be exceptionally good at playing. For a player like Ronaldo, the realisation that he can no longer cut it with the younger fellas is particularly painful as it represents in some way a form of small death. It's the official end of youth.
Being forced to retire through injury is no less easy. Ex-Donegal footballer Brendan Devenney touched the heartstrings when he was told recently that his playing days with St. Eunan's Letterkenny were over. Driving home from his meeting with Dr. Éanna Falvey at the Sports Injury Clinic in Dublin, the impact of what he had been told hit Devenney; "Coming up the motorway, I couldn't help but cry. It just sort of spilled out of me. These images kept flashing into my mind; when I was a kid kicking a ball in the back garden, dreaming of playing for Donegal." 
Maurice Fitzgerald is the ultimate example. He's the only county player I know of who played football as a means of recreation. Maurice and his friend would meet at lunch to catch and kick a ball for an hour. On speaking to him and expressing my surprise; Maurice countered by asking if I would have thought it strange if he went to the driving range."
Marty Clarke:   loves training in his back garden
Of the more recent crop of footballers; I am reliably informed that Marty Clarke loves nothing better than kicking a ball against the gable wall of his family home. Given the importance and comment which is attached to every county match, it's easy to understand how footballers can lose sight of why they are involved in the GAA. It's important for them to remember that they play the game for enjoyment. 
Players need to adopt a selfish attitude, reminding themselves that they play for their own satisfaction and not for the positive feedback of supporters or the media.
The sad day will come for all footballers when they will fully understand Ronaldo's tears. Until such time, they should celebrate the fact that they can still think of an action and do it the way they want to. It's a gift that won't last forever.
Follow hoogenband0110 on Twitter

No comments:

Post a Comment