Earlier today, I was simultaneously fixated on two legends: Tiger Woods giving chase at the PGA Championship, and Felix Hernandez, now relegated to the Mariners bullpen, and whether he’d come into a close game against the Astros.
And I found myself rooting harder for both more than I ever have before.
I mean, think about what we’ve been through lately: In the last year alone, we’ve said goodbye to arguably the best cornerback in Seahawks history in Richard Sherman. We’ve come to terms with a way-too-soon farewell to Kam Chancellor. We’ve welcomed Ichiro back in Seattle, only to see him stashed away with an honorary title. We’ve watched Clint Dempsey’s role with the Sounders slowly decline into a role coming off the bench.
And the most painful to watch, because it’s played out in front of our eyes for months, the depressing reality that Felix just doesn’t have it anymore as a starting pitcher. That’s five local sports legends either moving on, saying goodbye, or stepping aside.
And it doesn’t even include Earl Thomas, because that one’s still up in the air.
And it reminded me that maybe I’ve taken all of these athletes for granted too much over the years. Maybe I didn’t stop enough along the way to take a deep breath and remind myself of how lucky I was to witness their greatness. Because I’d give anything right now to see another bone-crushing hit by Chancellor to set the tone of a Seahawks game… or a quality start by Felix, giving the King’s Court extra pleasure with double-digit K’s.
It’s never easy to say goodbye to the legends we’ve watched and admired. But if we’re given a chance to still witness that greatness, why not milk it for all it’s worth?
I don’t know whether Felix has anything left in his new role as a reliever, but I’m sure as hell going to invest every ounce of my fandom to hoping that’s the case. Just as I’m rooting to see Clint Dempsey show flashes of greatness in his diminished role as a reserve in Sounders matches. And just as I tried to savor each captivating moment that Tiger gave us earlier this afternoon.
And take a look at this: Sue Bird did THIS earlier this season for the Storm. The all-time WNBA career assist leader, with one of the best passes I’ve ever seen. I’m not sure everyone saw it.
But it’s what she does. Who knows how much longer she’ll continue to play, but the events of the past year have reminded me that it won’t be forever - that it’s important to embrace every game, every memorable moment even more.
Because it can be fleeting. For even the best of all time.
So as depressing as the last year has been, it served as a good reminder. And as long as those local legends still have something to give, why not embrace it with everything we’ve got?