Sports fan or not, we all have something to learn from the retirement of baseball pitcher Tim Wakefield. On Friday, Wakefield called it a career hanging up the spikes as a member of the. Boston Red Sox. His decision to move on from baseball stretched through the off-season. The roughly five-months of contemplation saw the Red Sox refuse to offer the 45-year-old a contract, instead saying he could show up at spring training and try to make the team. Most players would be insulted by this treatment.
It would be typical, if not expected, in today’s environment for us to hear a running commentary about how the team was ‘disrespecting me.’ Wakefield is not typical. He publicly stated he wanted to retire as a Red Sox. What makes him different is he meant it. When his agent came to him with an offer, Wake asked, ‘Does the team play in Boston?’ The answer was ‘No’. Offer rejected. It comes as no surprise that at 45-years-old an athlete’s career comes to a close. In fact, he lasted longer than most.
Yet closing the door on what you’ve spent your life building involves a whirlwind of emotion that is not logical, nor is it easy to contain. Life is about transitions, small and large. How we handle these defining moments cement the impression others have of us. Tim Wakefield’s actions not words behavior serve as a model for us all. He was honest with the fans and himself. For me, he is 100% class act.