Quitter

I was nine years old. the first time I quit. The reason that I left little league football was not because I didn’t want to play.

I did.

I had the usual football heroes like Roger Staubach and Archie Manning, which reflects my old age and NFL geographical viewing area more than anything else.

The real reason I quit football at the mature age of nine was to punish my dad for being a chronic alcoholic. Although he would stop drinking in a year or so, he was still living life as a sloppy and mostly angry drunk.

And for some odd reason, I didn’t appreciate having an occasionally violent and sloppy drunk for a dad.

I knew that he wanted me to play and to be successful. He didn’t know that I’d never develop real athletic skills. Regardless, I decided to punish him and quit.

There was certainly no chance for a budding career in college or pro if I didn’t play, right? So, when the little league coach eventually called to check on me for missing practice, I told him that I quit.

“That’ll teach him,” I thought.

But here’s the problem with quitting. It only gets easier.

Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes quitting is probably the right call.

Say you’ve been puffing away at two packs of aromatic cigarettes for years. With the right amount of motivation or nicotine substitute, you might be able to quit and recover some semblance of a normal life.

Alcoholics can also quit.

And for good reason.

But quitting simply to hurt others is just immature.

Others quit because of fear.

I have a friend who once brought his fiancée a wax rose (he couldn’t find an open florist – or so he said). There’s nothing quite like trying to express lifelong commitment in the gift of a fake rose. He eventually got cold feet and canceled the wedding. In other words, he quit.

Besides quitting football, I’ve used the quitting card several more times through the years with jobs, people, and half-finished blog posts. Sometimes it was the right thing to do.

Many times, it was not.

I wish I had not quit playing football when I was nine. But I also wish that my dad had never started drinking.

I also wish I’d not quit 9th-grade algebra in the 12th grade, but, hey, we’ve all got to play the hand we’ve been dealt.

 


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