Injuries affect major players
There’s twilight spreading across the sports world, the ending of iconic eras, and it’s being ushered by injuries. Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens and Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees will be watching their teams from the bench for the remainder of the season, possibly longer. Even so, Lewis’ torn tricep and Jeter’s broken ankle might actually be a good thing.
These names are familiar to everyone who has ever played a Madden video game or seen a Gillette Fusion ProGlide commercial on television. They are the all-stars, the studs we mimic and look up to in our own lives. Every young boy who lines up as linebacker thinks of lighting up the man with the ball like Lewis does. It’s impossible to step up to a plate or make a diving catch without thinking of Jeter. They’ve become the legends of our time.
Let’s take these legends out of the equation. No more Ray Lewis, no more Derek Jeter. Can the teams survive without their leaders? I think no. Obviously, replacements will be found, but without the brilliant athletic ability behind both these men that earned them the stamp of being an icon, they won’t go far. It’s in the team member’s heads. It’s the idea that the big man is gone and they no longer have that same identity.
From Lewis’ and Jeter’s perspective, to suddenly fall to the background must be a struggle. Walking through a locker room after practice or before a big game doesn’t feel like you’re a gear in the engine any more. The other players are moving on and focusing on what’s ahead for them. You’re ignored, a ghost. Don’t let the coverage on ESPN fool you. You’re on the sidelines and out of the picture for now.
But Lewis and Jeter might not be gone for just a season. These injuries are potentially career ending. They may never step on field in uniform again. Let those words sink in.
Georgia College faces injured athletes constantly. Thankfully, we have a staff of athletic trainers who help our players mend. But imagine Ryan Aquino – last year’s forward for the Bobcat basketball team, who was also a PBC Presidential Scholar and an all-star on the court – facing an injury that ruined him for the rest of the season. Worse, the injury forces him to quit basketball. The devastation to the team and to Bobcat Nation would be difficult to recover from.
So what comes next? The biggest icon in baseball and the biggest in football are suddenly off the table in a single weekend. Already, young new stars are rising in ways we never have seen before. New standards are being created, and a fresh crowd of athletes are ready to take the stage and become the next legends. I’m all for that. Let them come, and let the new era feature the greatest players we’ve ever seen. This is where it starts.