September 25, 2008

He's back

So Lance Armstrong has unretired. After winning seven Tours de France, Lance retired from professional cycling. Now he wants back in. He said he wants to get back on the bike to raise awareness for his cancer fight. He also plans to publish all his test results to try to eliminate the doping cloud that has followed him during his career.

He will ride with the Astana team which is run by his old team director Johan Bruyneel. This has already created tension as the current leader of the team, Alberto Contedor, has won all three major tours in the past two years and is the hottest cyclist on the tour. He originally said he would leave the team if Lance came back, but Armstrong thinks there is room on the team for both of them.

Other star athletes have "unretired" with mixed results.

After a phenomenal basketball career, Michael Jordan tried baseball, but couldn't get out of the minor leagues. He went back to basketball, then became a basketball team owner, then back to a basketball player.

Brett Favre jerked the Green Bay Packers around for the last few years, "considering" retiring after each season. He actually retired after the 2007 season, then reconsidered and wanted back in. This set off a bitter dispute (which I didn't follow so I don't know the details) and ultimately had Favre going to the Jets. After a 16 year run where he was worshiped as a hero by Packer fans, he seemingly pisses it away to start over elsewhere.

I'm not sure what brings them back. Do they miss the limelight and the adoring fans? Most are still young and in the prime of their lives. After spending years in pursuit of single goal maybe there is just a gaping hole in their lives without sport. Maybe they can't find a different way to challenge themselves.

So many people fantasize about retiring early while they can still enjoy it. Add to that tons of money in the bank to do whatever you want. You'd think it would be easier to make retirement stick.

I'd like a shot at finding another way to spend my time. Like riding my bike. Oh, wait, that's what Lance is going back to. Maybe he's not so dumb after all.

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