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Thank you, 12



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Then-Indianapolis Colts quarterback, now retiree Andrew Luck tries to elude Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue during a game Dec. 2, 2018, at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Florida. Luck decided to retire from the Indianapolis Colts at 29 years old. Tribune News Service Buy Photos

There are very few things that have happened in my life that I can tell you exactly where I was and what I was doing when it happened, and most of them involve sports in one way or another. Andrew Luck retiring will be one of those moments. 

I don’t really know how to describe how I feel about his decision. Sure, my favorite team lost an amazing player in the game's most important position. That alone is enough for any fan to be upset.

But when I think about it, Luck is not just another great player, at least to me anyway. He gave me back one of the things I love the most, Indianapolis Colts football. 

My late father ingrained my love for the Colts into me. 

Both of us would sit on the light blue carpet in my living room, right up in front of the television with our eyes glued on a Colts game every Sunday. I took it for granted at the time, but it didn’t get any better than spending time with my old man and bonding over something we both loved. 

When I lost my dad to cancer, a lot of the things I love went with him, my obsession with Colts football being one of them. Super Bowl XLIV was less than a year after my dad passed away and watching the Colts lose was absolutely heartbreaking. 

The Colts had only lost two games all season. Going into the game, I had a feeling they were going to win it all for my dad, but they came up short. 

Before I knew it, Peyton Manning was on his way out of Indy and the Colts looked hopeless. But the horribleness of a Manning-less Colts team birthed a new era for the franchise. 

After Colts fans were forced to suffer through a 2-14 season in 2011, the team had the No.1 pick in the NFL Draft. “Suck for Luck” signs filled Lucas Oil Stadium with hopes to land the Stanford University standout. The fans got exactly what they wanted. 

During his rookie campaign, Luck shattered expectations and led the Colts to a 11-5 record which earned them a playoff berth. 

Just like that, I loved watching the Colts again. I could sit down and enjoy watching my favorite team, just like I did with my dad back in the day. 

I am devastated that I don’t get to watch Luck carve it up in a Colts uniform anymore, but I am more grateful than anything that he helped me regain a part of my childhood that I thought was gone forever. 

Famous for his almost creepy friendliness, his striking resemblance to a caveman, and one hell of a right arm, Luck in my opinion will go down as one of the best players to ever put on a blue and white uniform. 

It’s heartbreaking to see him hang it up so early in his career, but I can’t blame anyone for walking away from such a brutal sport. 

It’s disheartening to see the reaction of some fans, especially the ones booing Luck from the stands of Lucas Oil Stadium. They seem to be very quick to forget everything that Luck has done for the fan base in general. 

Luck finished a game after suffering a lacerated kidney, completely missed the 2017 season after tearing the labrum in his throwing shoulder and dealt with a leg injury this preseason. That is enough pain and rehab to drive anyone crazy. 

Luck’s toughness is unmatched and he deserves absolutely no disrespect. It’s not his job to appease others by putting his body through hell. Luck stated his injuries have caused him a lot of mental fatigue and his love for the game is just not there anymore. 

He’s not a quitter. He’s not a spoiled “millennial.” He’s an almost 30-year-old man with a family. This was the best decision for him going forward. People should respect that and understand that most would have quit long before. He doesn’t owe anyone anything. 

A part of me is holding onto hope that he’ll decide to come back eventually, but for someone who has given so much to me, the only thing I can say is thank you.

Thank you for giving 12-year-old me a reason to love football again. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to connect with my dad again, I know he’s still watching Colts games with me every Sunday.

Thank you, 12. 

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