MS Dhoni’s recent retirement has spurred emotions internationally with tributes from fans, current, and former players. Dhoni announced the decision on his Instagram post’s caption, with the post going viral and people in disbelief. As a sports person, retirement is inevitable, but no athlete wishes to retire when they are in the game. It is primarily for their love of the sport, sheer will and determination that makes them put in the workday in and day out. Like it or not, in the coming few years, a lot of legends of the sports will hang up their boots, with LeBron James, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and Roger Federer being the most famous names. We love to see them weave their magic in their sport, but all good things must end. And All these players are known worldwide and for years have remained at the top and through adjustments, have prolonged their careers to continue to dominate, but even that strategy has its time limit. It is up to them how and when they go out.
There are various ends to a career, some players have often gone out with a bang and at the top of the game, having achieved what they dreamed of, while others have continued to draw out their careers, to get back to the top and have hurt their legacy. But the magical part of sports is that it’s not the end. Famous players have come out of retirement and continue to put in high standards of performances with notable figures such as former Pakistan captain Imran Khan and Manchester United legend Paul Scholes. The return of Mike Tyson, one of the most ferocious boxers to step in the ring, was recently confirmed and he will face off against Roy Jones Jr. in November 2020.
Post-retirement, the approach to life these players have is varying with various retired players often saying that they miss the game and want to come back but they cannot because their body and mind cannot match up to the levels required in professional sport in the present day. A lot of players have taken to retirement rather joyfully and are happy to be involved in the administrative or entertainment sector of the sport but not the physical aspects of it with many often becoming TV Pundits, commentators and a part of the Board, as they are done with physically demanding nature of the sport and try to give the audience the most entertainment and technical knowledge they can while watching the sport. There are other approaches where former players try to give back to the game by becoming coaches and managers as they try to develop the younger generation to improve their game and in a way are connected to the game.
Being a sportsperson is difficult at all, the pressure and demands of the game, the constant travel, being away from their families, facing media backlash, it all takes a toll on then and when they finally walk away from the sport, they reconnect with their families; they get some privacy and feel the normalcy of the world yet again. They finally have a moment to breathe and relax without being scrutinized for every action that they take. For the players, they want to soak up the atmosphere, drink it in before they head back to the tunnel for the last time while for us as an audience, rather than criticizing and comparing, we should sit back and enjoy the beauty of their game before they inevitably hang up their boots and walk away.