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Farve Un-Retiring?

This article is more than 11 years old.

INTRO: Famed quarterback Brett Favre retired last year after sixteen years with the Green Bay Packers. Now, even before the beginning of the next season, there are already rumors of Favre's desire to return to the NFL. The talk has reminded commentator Bill Littlefield of how hard it is for many athletes to leave their games behind.

LITTLEFIELD: Perhaps he misses how his head would buzz when he got hit,

Or how, each morning when he woke, his knees would hurt a bit,

Unless he'd dosed himself with something to bring down the swelling.

But maybe it's not pain upon which I should now be dwelling.

Perhaps it is the locker room that he can't do without,

Where giant men pretending to be boys all scream and shout,

And light each others' shoes on fire, and have each others' backs,

And know that they've got something that life outside their world lacks.

It's simple understanding what your duty is each day,

When scoring touchdowns is your job. To work you have to play.

And, sure, the play is brutal, and the price you pay insane:

The tearing of your ligaments, the bruising of your brain.

But while you're on the team, your goal's as clear as six more points.

And round the league, in every town, in hotels or in joints,

You're celebrated as a king for all the things you do.

And though the plays are complicated, it is also true,

That you are much encouraged to accept such banal sayings,

As "winning is the only thing" and other witless brayings.

That life, despite the damage, is a comfy one for those,

Who measure time in quarters, and for whom the promise glows,

That if they knock guys down and please the coaches every day,

They needn't care for much else, 'til the cheering fades away.

And when it's faded, and they're only watching others star,

And wondering from their leather couches, if that's where they are,

Why shouldn't that be them, exalting, as the people roar?

And what's to stop them now from playing, as they did before?

And maybe as they wonder, they have also come to see

That watching from the sideline is not all that it should be,

Or all they thought it might be when they've left the game they'd played,

And found the days are empty of a plan they hadn't made.

HOST: Bill Littlefield comments on sports for WBUR, and hosts Only A Game, each Saturday at 7:00 a.m. and 6 p.m.

This program aired on July 10, 2008. The audio for this program is not available.

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