Football Practice (1968) by Hunter-Desportes (cc by)
How one man made the decision to end his football career before it got ended by injury.
By my junior year I became a starter because the guy ahead of me popped a hernia. By that time I was the final OL from my peers in freshman football camp. All the other O linemen I had practiced and bonded with had to quit the team due to injury, one by one. Blown knees, wrecked lower backs, loose shoulders, and one concussion so spectacular that I remember the sound to this day.
During the second game of the year one of the juco transfer OL went down with a knee injury. I heard him yelp as he went down. As I watched him get carried off the field, I had an epiphany which was: "What the HELL am I doing?" I was like the poor soul in the war movie who turns around to realize a sniper has taken everyone else out.
No, a better analogy would be "the cop who won't stop talking about being a week from retirement". Having this realization on the 45 yd line in the middle of the 3rd quarter is not really ideal. I spent the rest of the time with my mind racing during every single play - is that the sound of me about to be blindsided? Is that the pocket collapsing towards my knee?