The time has come. I would like to
officially announce my retirement from journalism.

Laura Wong

This is not a decision that came easily for me. I’ve
consulted family and friends. Athletes and fellow columnists.
Priests and oracles.

But I feel that I’ve accomplished as much as I could have
hoped.

Over four years, I have been able to write article after
article, lock down a weekly column, and cover women’s
gymnastics, ice hockey and men’s basketball. Retiring at this
time gives me time to pursue some other things in life.

It will allow me to put a concentrated effort into hobbies and
relaxation. Heck, maybe I could even land that 4.0 GPA for a
semester.

Hopefully, my retirement will lead to some “going
away” presents. Perhaps a car, some stock or at least a
golden pen.

Most importantly, though, my retirement will allow me to do
this:

I OFFICIALLY ANNOUNCE MY TRIUMPHANT RETURN TO JOURNALISM!

It’s a gutsy decision, I know. But anyone can retire.

It takes a real man to unretire.

I can now consider myself in the company of such sports legends
as Michael Jordan, Dominik Hasek, Bill Parcells, Roger Clemens and
Mario Lemieux.

Those five are probably the most high-profile figures over the
last few years that have made unretiring — to quote Billy
Madison — “the coolest”.

Clemens is the latest to come back from retirement. And he
played his cards perfectly. Last year, especially during the New
York Yankees’ playoff run, everything was, “This could
be Clemens’ last time on the mound.”

After his final start in the World Series, Clemens left the
mound to a standing ovation in Florida. Even the Marlins came out
of the dugout to salute the 300-game winner. Clemens walked to the
edge of the Yankees’ dugout, tipped his cap, and left the
field for the “last time.” Clemens received
“going away” presents from opposing teams, and a really
expensive car from Yankees’ owner George Steinbrenner.

Just three days ago, Clemens appeared again and signed a
contract with the Houston Astros.

When I saw live shots of his signing, I kept waiting for him to
look at the camera and yell out, “Made you look!”

It seems as though professional athletes are confusing the idea
of retirement with that of taking some time off.

If someone retires, they aren’t supposed to return.
You’re supposed to retire when you don’t want to work
anymore – when it’s time to settle down and take
vacations and mow the lawn.

So now Roger Clemens is back in baseball, and those who support
him will tell you that there’s nothing that says you have to
stay retired. Which is like saying to your significant other,
“I know you’re listening to what I’m saying, but
are you really hearing me?”

My unretirement probably won’t land me much fanfare. I
probably won’t be offered a huge contract to go and write for
a another college newspaper.

That’s fine. Plenty of no-names have walked the
unretirement trail. Guys like Gary Roberts, Doron Sheffor and Joey
Kocur (hockey, basketball, hockey, respectively — if you were
wondering). I’m happy to be lumped in with the lesser-know
unretirement stories – I can be one of those guys that, when
I finally do retire for good, can say “I have as many
unretirements as Roger Clemens.”

The phrase “retire for good” is kind of oxymoronic
these days, thanks to professional sports.

No matter … I’m back, baby! And I’ll see you
right here next week.

Unless I decide to reretire.

Chris Burke can be reached at
“mailto:chrisbur@umich.edu”>chrisbur@umich.edu

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