I’m too young to reflexively sigh upon seeing “4/15”. To be honest, it inspires me to smile; it’s been twenty-four months since my first-ever blog post went online. Life now is different from how things were in the spring of ’07: in some forms better, in some forms worse.
I come with, not some overwhelming question, but this simple inquiry. Does “retire” signify “to tire for the second (or third, or nth) time”? No, to be honest. Definitely not in the sense of putting new tires on one’s bike, or opening your trunk to dig out tire #5. If it did, “unretire” would be even more confusing. “To be restored for the nth time?” Renewed in energy, with the power of returning once more? Well, why not?
Retiring numbers is just one tiny bit of the bigger process of glorifying bygone legends. Nothing inherently wrong with this–I couldn’t come up with someone who deserves recognition more, nor do I desire to. This implies nothing of consequence, though.
Numbers drew me to this sport, series of them in the news. When you get down to it, though, selecting uniform numbers tends to be uneventful. Tributes to one’s idol or one’s hometown, but surely no jokes13. It’s not some set of true records, in the end, just one more process by which we identify the people on the field. For me, digits tend to be not so difficult to remember, if my only other choice is truly seeing someone else.
So by giving everyone this one number, is the intention to tell the world “everyone is meritorious, everyone is worthy, no ridiculous judgments here”? Or is it to tell us “everyone is one entity”? The intention, I suppose, is benign. But it’s not quite enough.
But questioning is good, if only since the other option–not questioning–is worse. So I’ll keep on questioning, protesting if I feel like it, & wondering. It’ll be enough, out of necessity if nothing else. I won’t find simplistic responses.
Or, I will find one, but I won’t know I’ve found it despite it being everywhere on the field, utterly impossible to miss.