I’m sitting in Miami on my 37th day of this road trip around the country. The trip is going well, the past few days have been spiritually awesome, which I’ll continue to update everyone on. The attached picture is a recent sunset off the coast of Fort Lauderdale, which was an awesome view to say the least. I wish I had a pic with me in Colts gear, but I don’t while I’m on the road! This brings me to the main topic of mind however- Andrew Luck’s retirement!
Last night the news broke about Andrew Luck retiring from the Indianapolis Colts. Those of you who know me, realize this was a devastating blow from a huge Colt fan’s perspective. I was shell-shocked to say the least as I received a plethora of texts about the announcement and scurried to find whatever information I could online. You could tell the fans in the stadium when the news broke during the 4th quarter of the Colts vs Bears pre-season game were also stunned, as booing commenced (ugh- come on Indy peeps!). Booing a guy that has given so much of his heart and body to your city’s football team is a little cold, yet I gracefully assume this was more of an expression of disappointment in the moment. Either way, hopefully Andrew Luck doesn’t take that to heart since most Colts fans are simply saddened by the news!
I couldn’t help to feel differently about the situation once my “fan cap” was off. The mature side of me that’s on a pretty phenomenal spiritual journey had a different reaction. As disappointed as I was for quite possibly my favorite team in all of sports, I felt a sense of great respect for Luck as I watched his press conference. He mentioned that he was losing joy for the game. Losing joy and not living life the way he wanted had him walking away from being one of the highest rated and highest played Quarterbacks in the NFL.
I don’t feel like I need to dive into the amount of respect this calls for. I believe and reports suggest that Andrew Luck played the game of football for two decades while being in love with the game. He then makes one of the most surprising retirement announcements in NFL history (if not the most surprising), hanging up his cleats before turning thirty. Most assumed Luck had potentially another decade of playing quarterback in the NFL still in front of him, despite the injury concerns over the past few years. Injuries and being separated from the team noticeably frustrated Luck. He doesn’t strike me as the kind of athlete that can stomach sitting on the sideline collecting big checks as his teammates play on Sundays. He doesn’t strike me as a taker, yet the opposite- a giver. Perhaps that’s what he did when he stepped away from the game, despite timing not being ideal given the looming start to the season. He gave the Colts the gift of stepping away when he knew his joy was diminished, knowing he wouldn’t be able to pour his heart and soul into his position any further. I believe that any team or teammate that hears that would certainly rather know this sooner than later, despite the immediate heartache and hindering of high expectations for years to come.
Perspective time- hundreds of millions of dollars of assumed future pay to continue playing football given up. I guess no one can ever say he played for the money. Once again I believe he played Quarterback for the love of the game. He stepped away with so much on the line because of lessening joy and not being able to contribute his heart/soul into the game of football, how honorable. This got me curiously thinking of course. How many people out there have much less on the line to make impactful life decisions, yet simply don’t have the courage, the faith, the strength, the awareness, the consideration of others, etc. to do what Andrew Luck did last night? We all have tough decisions to make, yet often times we end up making excuses instead of taking the right actions. Andrew went with his heart, soul, gut and made a decision out of his love for the game of football over his own personal gain. Kudos sir!
I also wonder if he simply needs some separation and knew he was otherwise at a mental or physical breaking point if he stayed for another brutal season of watching from the sidelines? How many times in life do circumstances nearly shatter us? I’ve been down the slippery slope where situational fear and/or the pressure of trying to please others actually makes matters worse. Haven’t you? I imagine it might be easier to heal without everyone asking when you’re going to get better! I also imagine the fear of not getting better as injuries linger, coupled with the pressure of feeling like you NEED to and WANT to so badly, probably won’t help physically healing either! I believe we are meant to heal physically and mentally when we pause and lean toward God, not when we have fear, pleasing others and pressure at the forefront of our minds. I believe having another lingering issue, after missing the entire 2017 season with an ailment, could’ve really been too tough mentally for a warrior like Luck to endure and he knew it! I believe he probably felt the weight of this team, fans and the sports world on his shoulders as everyone once again speculated about his health. I believe it would be pretty hard for any of us to heal physically, mentally or both with such high expectations from so many. I can see this debilitating me if I was in Andrew Luck’s shoes, regardless of my mental or physical endurance.
His joy was slipping. He wasn’t living the life he wanted to live. So many people had high expectations for him in football, including himself. Most people probably would’ve made a different decision than Andrew Luck did on Saturday. Kudos to Andrew for recognizing the importance of living for joy. Kudos to Andrew for realizing he gets a say in how he lives his life, and that certainly doesn’t have to be for everyone else first. Kudos for Andrew Luck for having the courage to make an unpopular decision that he knew in his heart and gut was the right overall choice for all parties involved- especially himself.
I’m a saddened Colts fan, yet I’m encouraged by a man’s ability to take big steps to follow his joy, follow his heart and go against the grain! Enjoy retirement Andrew, you’ll always be one of my favorite Colts and you will be missed!
Cheers and much love from Miami, FL everyone!
For more pics and to fully experience the journey follow @surrender_project on Instagram!