Fay Vincent ’60 writes:

There is something sad and almost tragic about aging public figures who still believe they have not lost their fastball. One thinks of the late Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., — ravaged by age and illness clinging to the speaker’s desk — while gesturing with badly trembling hand as he attempted to address the Senate.

I also remember having the same sense of sadness when Willie Mays, Yogi Berra and Warren Spahn, all long over the hill, tried to prolong their lustrous baseball careers by joining the New York Mets in the 1960s and 1970s when their skills were gone and they seemed embarrassingly out of place.

Similarly, great football players like Joe Namath and John Unitas tried to hang on long after it was obvious they were no longer able to play at a high level. Only a few icons, such as Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio, were able to see and accept the price age imposes and leave the game on their terms. Indeed Williams famously hit a home run in his last at bat. That is how to go off stage.

How will you go off the stage? How will I?

Print  •  Email