The Third Half

(photo courtesy of Don't cry for me Brett Favre, this is only my semi-retirement.

Image: MCT

(photo courtesy of Don’t cry for me Brett Favre, this is only my semi-retirement.

(photo courtesy of Don't cry for me Brett Favre, this is only my semi-retirement.

I’m calling it quits, at least for the time being. It’s been a fun four years here on the staff, but it’s my time to go. The ownership wouldn’t pay me a big bonus and with all of this speculation floating around me concerning performance enhancing drugs (PEDs), it’s time for me to move on.

I swear, I thought I was just putting Icy Hot or some type of Gold Bond lotion on my forearms, but what do you know, four years later I’m writing stories, columns and breaking reports at the same rate that Barry Bonds hit home runs and Lance Armstrong won Tour de Frances.

To be honest, I feel pretty mentally beat up from all of this writing. I had a good season again, but it’s time to go back to the farm and mull things over before giving the ownership news of whether or not I’ll return next season. I know, you’re thinking here comes another Brett Favre, but I promise my first retirement will be my last…at least until my first comeback.

It’s been a nice run here at Mercer, though, with former sports editor Jeremy Timmerman handing me the reigns after my sophomore year. We even had a ceremony to inaugurate my coming as the “next big sports columnist on staff’ as I told the rest of the media present, “Get your popcorn ready—it’s going to be awesome.”

Hey, my columns were “popping” for a while. I correctly predicted the four Final Four teams and the NCAA tournament winner in March of 2008, said over a baseball broadcast that the Tampa Bay Rays would win the AL East in 2008 and have won plenty of sports bets for lunch at work, but I chalk it up to just being knowledgeable about the game.

As the clean-up hitter, I’ve watched plenty of good, mediocre, not-so-good and very talented writers move through the pages of the Cluster. That’s why I’m going into semi-retirement, albeit a forced one due to graduation. I feel confident with where the team is at, though, with a staff full of great writers, especially rookie Zach Wells. Where did this guy come from, relating his spring break trips to intramural softball and previous relationships to the men’s basketball teams’ achievements and struggles?

Returning editor Samir Moussawel is an all-star, but we traded him to George Washington for the year. The owners said that it was for financial reasons, but I think they just needed some more cash on board to get another puzzle piece once I retired. I don’t like to speculate, but this might be another Cleveland Cavaliers situation.

Both Wells and Moussawel are future Hall of Fame material and that’s why it makes sense for me to get out while I’m on top. Think about all the pros who outlasted their welcome. Joe Montana with the Chiefs? Michael Jordan with the Wizards? No sir, this writer’s pen stays with the team I helped build up, the Cluster.

I’m sure Georgia Tech, Georgia, Georgia State, Emory and perhaps even Georgia Southern will all vie for my services. I’ll gladly take the steak and shrimp dinners, the dining and wining as it’s known in the business, but at the end of the day I’ve got to do what’s best for me and my family. And right now, I’m trying to take care of my legacy at the ripe age of 23 years old.

I’ve got to give a ton of credit to Garret McDowell, the workhorse of the squad. He’s been a Scottie Pippen to me, or even a Chris Bosh. His best years are still ahead of him.

I’m no Latrell Spreewell. Remember, he was the former NBA player who turned down a three-year, $21 million deal because he said that it wasn’t enough to feed his children. I’ve got plenty of Bear Bucks to eat on in the University Center, but I’m just tired of eating Chick-fil-A and Subway every week. I need to branch out a little bit, have a change of pace, that’s all.

Don’t worry, I won’t be one of these superstars that just disappears off the face of the planet. No one saw Mark McGwire for five years after he retired, as well as many of the other sluggers of our generation. My approach will be more like that of Chad Ochocinco: trying out for a major league sports club other than his own. When the football star gave soccer a try last month, it got me to thinking about my versatility. Why not start something new?

Whatever it is that I conjure up to try, you can guarantee that it’ll be more successful than Michael Jordan at minor league baseball. Even if it’s not, I’m sure ESPN will make a 30:30 documentary about it ten years from now with my closest buddies giving their recollections about my decision.

Speaking of decisions, the television network turned down my offer to air my own decision of where to go to after graduation. So, I’ll say it here: I’m taking my talents to Chattanooga. I’ll be back for Homecoming, though.