Dan Tuohy has started a brutally honest and timely discussion on how professional rugby, ( and even soccer) players) slope off to retirement. Dazzled by high=hopes of success, living the dream and earning millions, many end up with shattered dreams, low self esteem, feelings of failure and wondering if they can summon up enough energy to slap on a smile and face into a new life. Often the dream is shattered by over=trained bodies admitting that they cannot take the punishment. A closer look at these mis-shapen bodies would urge them to get out of there fast.
However, it is the method of departure that has Dan Tuohy most exercised. It would not take a lot to organise some sort of farewell. . That there should be a whole scheme 'Preparing for Retirement and the Possibilities' is beyond discussion. That they just are left to their own devices is a reflection of the mentality that is Professional Rugby.
Quite ironic actually, given all the pep talks about teamwork, brotherhood, giving your all, doing your best. Obviously, none of this applies to those no longer able to tog out on to the pitch. What were supposed to be friendships turn out to have been expedient relationships. And they are now very much an 'Ex'.
There are quite a few similarities with those who retire from a job, where they have been for many years and from which they get their sense of identity. How many places have you been where the first question is : What do you do?
Because many of these have worked so hard, -giving it their all-on retirement, it is not only the job which is gone, but also their sense of identity and even a sense of place. Many have long let go of hobbies, friends and even sacrificed family life-No, Can't come to the match, dinner, party, concert, got a lot of work on at the moment.
In fact, waking up to discover that you have in fact, very few friends can come as a shock. Coping with Retirement is really coping with Change and Loss.
Both are inevitable and it is better to just accept that both are a fact of life and looking forward to the new day, new dawn. The thing with life is, that it keeps moving forward and we keep losing things. what we need to do is keep our eyes open for the pitfalls but also for the wonderful possibilities.
During the last recession, a mere 10 years ago, Uber, AirBNB, NetFlix came forward. Based on a new way of doing things. we all quickly adapted.
Adapting is a gift.
Practice it today.
I remember the first time my father sat down to spagetti Bolognese. He was not impressed.