Friday, August 13, 2010

Life after Sports

Life After Sports by Ian Sager

What do athletes do when they "retire"? For some, sports are a steppingstone to a high-profile second career. Others go for a "normal" life

Who hasn't envied the professional athlete? And what sports fan hasn't fantasized about rounding third base, heading for home to win the World Series, or sinking the tournament-winning putt? For must of us, those dreams remain just that, and we end up in more prosaic jobs, with retirement coming after perhaps 40 years of work.

For those with the talent, dedication, and luck to make that dream a reality, the life of a professional athlete can be on par with that of a rock star or Hollywood heavyweight. But even the most successful athlete has to face the reality of retirement—and much sooner than someone in a less glamorous field..... more

Erin Hartwell
PEZ: Why quit road ? you weren't old.
The Achilles injury woke me up to a few things that had been brewing in recesses of my mind. I began to realize that I was racing professionally more for the wage I was being paid and less for the passion that brought me to the sport and almost to its pinnacle. I made a respectable salary as a pro but it was no longer an investment in my future. There was little to save after the bills were paid and I was at an age where I wanted more stability and a clearer future for my family.

Little things began to take their toll... I was tired of host housing. When you start thinking, “I could have had a Ph.D. by now,” that’s not good. It makes it harder to get out the door in the rain and cold.

Additionally, my body was becoming unreliable, breaking down, much more unpredictable. The foot injury really brought me to my knees. All the form I had worked so hard for was gone. Mentally, the injuries drained me.

I needed to forge a future that showed greater promise to my wife and two young children than that of an aging bike rider. I decided to go to school before it was realistically too late to reap the value of a degree. I didn’t want to get up one day and ask myself, “what the hell just happened?”..... more

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