There’s no argument that there are plenty of things to criticize Roger Clemens about. But the 50-year-old’s recent decision to pitch in the independent Atlantic League for the Sugar Land (Texas) Skeeters, should not be one of them.
Let’s face it. Retirement is a hard proposition for many men. Many of us don’t have hobbies that can occupy our day—we just can’t live without working. And this mindset is common among many of us who have toiled in less glamorous professions than playing baseball.
Moreover, how many of us love to play sports more now, than we did when we were kids? Those of us in our forties, fifties and even sixties play softball, basketball, tennis or touch football, regularly. And we PAY for the privilege.
What’s more, we appreciate it more than we ever did because we know that we only have a limited amount of years left to participate. Eventually our bodies just won’t permit us to play competitive sports, anymore. And, sadly, we know that time will arrive sooner than later.
So I just don’t get the line of thinking that Clemens decision to play has something to do with his ego. It’s not as if he’s attempting a comeback to the Major Leagues. He’s playing close to home in Texas, in a league, where at 50, he should be quite competitive playing against younger, but less talented players. And while he’s getting paid something, I’m sure it’s peanuts. So he’s one of the few athletes who can actually say this decision “wasn’t about the money” and actually mean it. He just loves or needs to play.
Be honest—does Clemens look like the kind of a person who will travel, read books, or accompany his wife to the supermarket? He’s an ultra-competitive person who aches to play baseball. And if that’s what he loves to do, who is anyone else to judge him harshly for that?