Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Last Ride

"Everything that starts has an end. For me, today, I told my team that this will be my last ride."

 The NFL Baltimore Ravens Linebacker, Ray Lewis, announced he plans on retiring at the end of the season today. After telling his teammates, coaches and organization, he held a press conference at the Raven's facilities to talk about his decision and why he made it. Here are some choice excerpts from that conference today...excerpts that will quickly become obvious why I think they make for a great blog posting in this fringe sector of teh interewebz.... you can see the video of the press conference here.

"Everything that starts has an end. It’s just life."

When Lewis suffered a triceps injury against the Dallas Cowboys on Oct. 14, doctors told him it would be season-ending. That meant perhaps career-ending considering Lewis is 37 years old.

Lewis immediately called Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome.

“I’m not going out like this. I’m not walking out on my boys like that,” he told him.

So Lewis was put on the injured reserve – designated to return list. And from that point on, he underwent intense rehabilitation just to have a chance to step back on the field and play with his teammates again.

Lewis called it the craziest 12 weeks of training in his life.

“Pain was really the last thing that was on my mind,” he said. “I just thought about getting through it.”

But the injury also made Lewis further realize something else.

It crystalized the importance of being a father first.

During his time at home rehabilitating, Lewis got a chance to watch his oldest son, Ray Lewis III, play football during his senior year at Lake Mary Prep in Florida, and his younger son go through his freshman year.

Lewis was there for the entire 11-1 season.

He would fly back from rehabilitation to meet his son every weekend.

For that reason, he called his injury “bittersweet.”

Had he not been injured, Lewis would have missed his son’s season.

“I could never say I would do it any differently because of what I had the opportunity to do, and that’s to see my babies go out,” Lewis said.

 The decision to prioritize family hits home with Lewis, who didn’t have a father throughout his childhood. His father wasn’t there the day Lewis was born, and the linebacker spent much of his youth angry with him and trying to erase him from his life.

“Me being who I am and not having a father myself, that damaged me a lot,” Lewis said. “I didn’t want my kids to relive that.”

"My children have made the ultimate sacrifice for their father for 17 years. I don't want to see them do that no more. I've done what I wanted to do in this business, and now it's my turn to give them something back."

"I knew I couldn't split my time anymore. When God calls, he calls. And he's calling. More importantly, he calls me to be a father. It's OK to be Daddy. Yes, this chapter is closing, but the chapter that's opening is overwhelming. That's what excites me the most."
Lewis made a promise to Ray Lewis III that he would be there for him if he got a full scholarship to play football. Last March, Lewis III accepted a full ride to the University of Miami – just like his father – with his dad sitting in the room when he signed the papers.
Now Lewis intends to keep that promise.


Brian said...

I admire Lewis a lot, but not because of anything he did on the football field. People forget that in January 2000, he was involved in a group that murdered someone in Atlanta and although he was not charged with the murder, the stink of that night stayed on him for several years. Not long after he shrugged off the thug life, rehabilitated himself and his image and is now seen by his peers as one of the ultimate leaders and "character guys" in all of sports. He literally made a man out of himself and went for being a bad example to a good one. Most athletes make terrible role models, Ray Lewis isn't one of them.

YouSoWould said...

I'll be honest, I don't follow American Football - are the stars generally overpaid, spoiled prima-donnas with no strength of character and few morals in the same way that most top English Premier League footballers are?

dannyfrom504 said...

i've always like RL. he's great a lot of heart and plays with absolute passion.

his loyaty to the team is legendary. it's great he's as active in his boy's life.

Matt Forney said...

Off-topic, but what's your email Keoni? I need to send you something. Get me at:

therealmattforney [at] gmail [dot] com

asdf said...

I don't respect murderers.

Unknown said...

DUde is a real man, too bad his mind is still stuck in the matrix!:

His father wasn’t there the day Lewis was born, and the linebacker spent much of his youth angry with him and trying to erase him from his life.

Mothers hold the cards, and the house does not care how they play them.

db4805 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
db4805 said...

If it weren't for football and his professed belief in God, Ray Lewis would be just another statistic. Keep in mind that after he was released from jail, he had his most dominant year of football. Because of his leadership the very good Baltimore defense became one of the best of all time. He is a man among men. He is the alpha male of the group. However, he is not the way, the truth and the life. He has done well and I hope he is more to his kids than his dad ever was to him.

Kemal S. said...

Keoni, you know I'm always amazed at what the presence of a father, or the lack of a father's presence, can do in the mind of a child. I'm only just now starting to realize the depths of the type of rage and frustration we often carry in adulthood, that sometimes isn't even noticed but influences so many of us anyway.

There's a Prophecy in Islamic sources that in humanity's later days one of he signs of the decline of civilization and culture is that Children will be filled with rage. I find it thought provoking because so much of the crime in our society stems from young adults filled with rage and hate often due to not having constructive father figures.

I'm not making an argument from that but just find it thought provoking.