Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Saturday, June 22
The Indiana Daily Student


Bourque retirement right thing

A few days ago, Ray Bourque announced his retirement from the Colorado Avalanche and the game of hockey. This coming shortly after Bourque and his fellow Colorado Avalanche came from behind to win the Stanley Cup in seven games against the New Jersey Devils (as this columnist so correctly predicted). I would just like to commend Bourque on his decision to ride off into the sunset with the Stanley Cup riding shotgun in his car.\nBourque was the epitome of a NHL defenseman during his 22 years in the league, playing in 19 consecutive all-star games as well as winning five Norris Trophies -- the award given out every year to the best defender in the league. Bourque is also one of the last truly great sportsmen in all of sports, having spent almost his entire career in one city. From the beginning of his career all the way up to the trading deadline last season with the Boston Bruins, only being traded to the Avalanche because he wanted to win a Stanley Cup before he retired. He had the most games played out of anyone in the NHL without hoisting the Cup, a stigma that ended June 9th.\nBourque cited several reasons for his retirement during his press conference.\n"By far the most important factor is my desire to be around my children," he said. "Frankly, I also have had a strong commitment to myself never to stay too long in the game. \nAlso, we are still on cloud nine having won the Stanley Cup and having achieved that goal kind of rounds out my career."\nGoing out on top is the dream of almost every athlete, or so it seems. Winning that one last championship, hitting that last home run or making that last shot -- it's what each athlete wants to end his career with. While Bourque didn't score the game winning goal for the Avalanche, he did get to walk off the ice with the championship trophy, having won the last game of his season and career.\nWhich brings me to an important point: The first great athletes of my generation that I truly got to appreciate, Bourque, Cal Ripken Jr., Tony Gwynn, Dan Marino, John Elway and Michael Jordan, all have or are reaching the end of their careers. Some, Bourque, Elway and Jordan, got to end things on a high note. While Gwynn and Ripken still could, it looks unlikely, and for Marino, the Super Bowl trophy remains the one hole in his very impressive resume.\nBut while its important to go out a winner, I think it's even more important to go out before your skill is too diminished. To me, there is nothing more pathetic than an athlete who hangs on for too long, maintaining a spot in the lineup based more on reputation than skill. \nOne could make the argument, and I often have with my friends, that athletes such as Ripken, Gwynn and Patrick Ewing are holding on for too long, and it's sad to see them playing as they do now. \nAnd now, the man that turned on a generation to basketball and made David Stern richer than he could ever have hoped to be, Michael Jordan has hinted at another comeback. Jordan's first comeback was understandable; he retired too soon and still had much to give. Now, if Jordan comes back, he will be approaching 40. While I admit Jordan is a great athlete, I doubt that even he still has the skill to match up with the superstars of today like Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson or Vince Carter. So, as a selfish plea, I beg Jordan not to come back, and let us keep that last shining memory of you, hitting the game winning jumper in Game 6 against the Utah Jazz, winning your sixth and final championship.

Get stories like this in your inbox