Apparently former baseball All Star Roger Clemens, now 50 years old, is attempting to make a comeback of sorts as he is scheduled to pitch a minor league game in the independent Atlantic League this Saturday night. On the surface, most fans will probably view this as some sort of cheap publicity stunt by Clemens in the aftermath of his acquittal from steroid charges, but if you delve deeper there may be more serious issues pertaining to Clemens’ struggles to accept his inevitable sport retirement transition. Like many great athletes before him, Clemens appears to be struggling with finding himself after his baseball career ended in 2007, and is probably having a very tough time not being “the man” anymore.
Unlike when he played, Clemens is hardly the star that he once was — younger fans don’t know him, and many older fans have lost interest in him as they believe he cheated baseball by using PED’s, even if he was found not guilty. The result of all of this is a former great player who no longer has his old identity to cling onto, and a dwindling fan base who seemingly doesn’t care very much about Clemens in the aftermath of his baseball career.
Sport psychology research studies have clearly shown that letting go of a great sports career is a very difficult thing to do. Just this past spring NFL great Junior Seau committed suicide in the aftermath of his career, and many more great athletes have gone on to experience a host of problems including substance abuse, depression, and social isolation to name a few. In fact, it is actually a very normal experience for athletes to struggle when faced with the ends of their careers, as evidenced by the increasing number of athletes who have spoken out about this transition in recent years.
Admittedly, I’m not much of a Roger Clemens fan as I think the evidence that he cheated was more than overwhelming, even if a jury didn’t see it that way. Having said that, I also feel sorry watching Clemens hold on right now, as my last memory of him should be one of him wearing Yankee pinstripes and blowing away batters, not him gimping out to the mound as a 50 year old over-the-hill player pitching in front of a couple thousand fans at an obscure minor league park.
Know an athlete struggling with sport retirement? Then check out our products designed to help!