Editor in Chief
The news stopped me in mid-bite of my carefully crafted turkey and cheese sandwich. As I read the words in front of me, I began to break out in a cold sweat.
The news was too surreal to be true, and yet true it was. It shook my world, and not because I am a Yankees fan. Yankees’ star shortstop Derek Jeter’s announcement via Facebook last Wednesday that he was going to retire at the end of the 2014 season did not upset me because the world of baseball would be saying farewell to one of its living legends. It upset me because apparently I have been doing it all wrong.
Here I am, in my final year at Springfield College and as Editor-in-Chief of The Student, and I forgot the most important step. Mariano Rivera did everything he could to show me the way last year, but I failed to follow in his footsteps. Jeter’s announcement served as a further reminder of my mishap.
I forgot to announce my retirement a year early.
So here it is, Springfield College. I, Joe Brown, hereby am announcing my retirement from both the college and my position as Editor-in-Chief of the school newspaper effective May 18, 2014.
It sounds ridiculous coming from me, right? Why then, is it not questioned in the least bit for a professional athlete to announce his retirement before the year has even begun?
Now, before every Yankees’ fan puts me on their hate list, let me clear something up.
I am not a Yankees fan, as I said earlier, but I am also not a Red Sox fan. As a Philadelphia Phillies fan, I have no bias against the Yankees…except for that infuriating 2009 World Series…but in all seriousness, the Yankees are just another team to me.
In addition, I have always had nothing but the utmost respect for Jeter. He is one of the living legends of baseball, a player that has always played the game the right way and kept his name clean while playing at an incredibly high level for years.
Still, announcing your retirement a year early seems absolutely ludicrous to me. Whatever happened to announcing your retirement after the season ended, or at least towards the end of the year?
This relatively recent phenomenon, also done by Jeter’s former teammate Rivera, is a sign of how America as a society has overinflated the importance of sports.
Sports figures are no longer just players playing for the love of the game. We have morphed them into gods and goddesses by putting them on a pedestal and treating them as more important than the rest of society.
It is no wonder that players seem to be struck with an almost “god-like syndrome” where they feel like they have the power to do more than what we mere mortals are capable of. Even simple acts, such as announcing retirement a year early, point to this syndrome of being larger than life.
This could very well be an overreaction, but to me, announcing your own retirement a year early is a cry for attention, something that Jeter has never done in the past.
It could very well have been unintentional, but what Jeter has done is to create an artificial storyline for the season. Instead of the Yankees simply going out and competing like every other baseball team, they will now be playing to get one more World Series victory for their captain.
The season has already been transformed into Jeter’s farewell tour.
In the competitive and copycat world of sports, I would not be surprised to see other athletes who consider themselves elite begin announcing their retirements a year early.
It is a trend that I hope never catches on, because it reflects poorly on the state of society today.
Athletes can be role models, icons and heroes. However, they are not gods, and there is no need to treat them as such.
We as a society need to correct this mindset and begin viewing sports in a much healthier way, or the “god-like syndrome” of many athletes will continue to spread and early retirements will be the least of our concerns.