I've Walked 1/1,000,000th of a Mile In Andrew Luck's Shoes

I'm frankly still, like most Americans who care about sports, waiting for this to be an 'April's Fools' joke.

If you've been living under a rock or don't care at all, Andrew Luck - now former Quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts - retired from football after sustaining another injury that forced him to sit out preseason games.

I mean, look at that list. Andrew Luck had been through problems with some being incredibly serious. (peeing blood?)

I think after maybe even half of these I would have quit football. Frankly, I would've quit football the first time I took a hit from a peewee league linebacker. Not really my sport.

But Andrew Luck is supposed to be the tough guy, the guy getting paid to make tons of money to be a big star and help Indianapolis regain their stature as a formidable force in the NFL. Instead, his last moments as a Colt were him walking off the field at home to boos from the Indy fans.

Unfortunately, I found myself in a similar situation months ago, and it is one of the toughest things for an athlete to go through.

Deciding when to leave a sport you love is never an easy decision after all the years you spent working to be a better athlete. You have to sit there and ask yourself, "is this the moment I have worked for all these years"? All the late nights, early mornings, the workouts, the conditioning tests, triple header baseball games.

It's a hard thing to give up, a "job" that never really feels done.

Going through injuries is a mental nightmare. For a player who truly loves what they do, sitting on the sidelines watching your team play is hard. Losing confidence in yourself or your body is even worse.

Couple that with the pressures of an NFL (or in my case college) lifestyle and it's hard to keep yourself mentally above water when it comes to injury. And some people just know how to do it. Some meet a breaking point. Some need more help than others.

We are all different.

But the important thing that I had to remember about playing a collegiate sport was childishly simple: I volunteered to play a game.

This week we have seen not just Andrew Luck's retirement, but Rob Gronkowski's explanation of his retirement and how football had stopped being fun for him. Such was my struggle with baseball.

I felt tired, I felt run down and beat by injuries. The injuries had cost me confidence on the field. I was doing everything I could to keep myself going in the classroom while trying to start this whole podcast venture of mine. And then suddenly, I lost it.

For two days I had a hard time pulling myself to class, I missed weights without call, I just shut down.

For as much as I had told myself that you just have to keep pushing through, I couldn't push anymore.

So when push comes to shove, I had to make a tough decision to walk away. I felt like I had let people down, felt ashamed and awful for having failed to fulfill my commitment to the team I had decided to play for.

I overloaded my schedule, and that was my fault. But I've come to realize that maybe I overloaded my schedule with other things because baseball wasn't what made me happy.

Ultimately, the inner happiness and joy I found from walking away has hugely outweighed the stress of still playing and the guilt of the friends and brothers I had left behind.

I can now podcast for fun and dedicate the necessary time to classes and to taking care of myself in whatever way that looks. Priorities.

I'm sure there will be former teammates or coaches who might shake their head at reading this, might feel like they saw it coming or that I'm soft. Whatever.

To anyone who was affected by it, you know who I am and the type of person I am. If you felt personally attacked in some way by my decision or let down, I am sorry to hear that. If you felt like I gave up too soon, I would tell you I gave up on it not a moment too soon.

I, like Mr. Luck, had to make a tough decision that affected people who had shown me nothing but love and support. I had to feel like the bad guy or the lazy teammate tired of doing what it takes to win.

And plenty of this was just made up in my head, because it is so easy to over think this stuff.

It makes no sense, how can you ask people who have done nothing but be there for you to be there for you even more now that you are walking away from them.

There are a lot of questions in here I still have yet to answer for myself, and Im sure Andrew Luck will have to answer them for himself as well.

All I can say is that time heals all wounds. It's not even about mental illness, it's about being proactive in doing what's best for you before you really do have problems.

And if you have problems with Andrew Luck retiring, you need to get a little perspective.

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