In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 15, 2009 / 21 Nisan 5769

Life after glory

By Mitch Albom

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "This is not fun for me," Michael Jordan told reporters.

He was not being arrested. He was not being publicly humiliated. He was not being forced to fox trot on "Dancing With the Stars."

He had been selected for the Basketball Hall Of Fame. The pantheon of his sport.

And he was unhappy.

His reason: "Your basketball career is completely over. That's the way I look at it. I was hoping this day was coming in 20 more years, or that I'd actually go in when I'm dead and done…

"Now, when you get into the Hall of Fame, what else is there to do?"

If that sounds ungrateful, I suggest it is not. It is, in fact, sadder than that. It is something many pro athletes endure: the agonizing changeover from god to mortal man.

It is not a pleasant trip. A recent Sports Illustrated story revealed that by the time they have been retired for two years, 78 percent of former NFL players have gone bankrupt or are suffering financial duress, and within five years of retirement, 60 percent of former NBA players are broke. Divorce rates among pro athletes are as high as 80 percent — and much of that happens after the shoes are hung up and the real world calls.

What is the real world?

The one you and I live in every day.

But for superstar athletes, it's a strange place. No one to carry your bags for you. No one to hand you a plane ticket. No coterie of women waiting when you arrive in a new town. No trainer for your medical needs. No manager to book your reservations. And worst of all — no practice, game or road trip to run off to when family pressures arise.

Instead, you are home. And home. And still home. And you wife is there. And still there. And the kids are there. And still there. And the glory is fading. And fading. And going to someone else.

Is it any wonder Jordan cracked to the media, "I always want to have you thinking that I can always go back and play the game of basketball. … Am I? No. But I'd like for you to think that way."

This guessing game Jordan, now 46, likes to hold over the press is really just ego. The belief that he is so important, reporters will spend hours speculating over whether he will or won't come back. For years, that's the way it was. And Jordan liked it. In a way, it meant he could never die.

But those years end. Guys like Jordan keeping searching for the old notes to play and find them plunking or silenced. In time, nobody cares. Nobody's listening.

This is why I have never envied athletes. I've worked among them. Chronicled their lives. But I never minded stepping aside when it was time for them to be mobbed by a crowd, fussed over by a politician or canoodled by an adoring female fan. I have seen the other side of that: the aging, creaky-kneed athlete who shows up at an event and finds himself standing awkwardly alone, or making over-energized small talk with someone he used to ignore.

All glory fades. The smart athletes see this coming, and know to make other plans. Joe Dumars, who found a second act as the Pistons' president of basketball operations, swears he never touched a basketball after he retired, not once, not even alone in a gym. His rationale was clear: Why watch your skills fade? Why hold onto what once was, when you know it is sand between your fingers?

The ones who find other pleasures in life are the one who most appreciate their sports careers. The ones who don't keep tugging on their memories, like a kid trying to make a kite fly with no wind.

So Jordan — maybe the greatest to ever play his game — in the end, is just an anachronism. He, too, got divorced, expensively, after retiring. He now sees a young woman more likely to be dating a current player. And his reluctance to embrace something as venerable as a Hall of Fame induction shows you just how desperately he clings to the self-image of active superstar, not retired legend.

Next time you say pro athletes have it made, remember the life that comes after you have it made. And ask yourself this: Would you rather spend your last 40 years on Earth looking ahead or looking behind?

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