Carey Price: It's Better to Burn Out, Than Fade Away
If you were writing a book about Carey Price early in his career, you would have never predicted the final chapters would look like this. We want our sports stars to write their own endings, preferably riding into the sunset with no regrets and no missed opportunities. Furthermore, we want one more year of excellence because, like we do with all our heroes, both in sports and in our personal lives, we take them for granted.
Watching Tiger Woods limp around St. Andrew’s was uncomfortable. Watching Serena Williams get dominated at non-major tennis tournaments is unsettling. Watching Carey Price languish in rehab, both for substance abuse and for his surgically repaired knee, is not fair.
Father time gets all of us, no matter the profession we are in. Sooner or later, we all have to retire, but for the vast majority of us, our retirement date is more or less predetermined.
What we do have in common with star athletes is that our skills deteriorate with age. Beer leaguers can’t skate as hard anymore, weekend hackers can’t hit the driver as far, and many people switch over to pickle ball when tennis becomes too strenuous. These are all frustrating situations, but none of these sports define us. As non-professional athletes, we haven’t lived and breathed these sports since we were still getting potty-trained. Our aging and other personal struggles aren’t played out in the public’s eye. Most of all, our careers aren’t over at age 35.
Some people point to the obvious: “The guy is making $10 million for the next 4 years. He has no reason to be sad.” True, Carey Price will never have to worry about money, but the mental health aspect is truly the focus here. We've become so enamoured with the next best thing, as our consumption-based society keeps spending like drunken sailors, that we fail to see the human-side of our pro-athletes. What’s worse, we have no clue about the pressure our superstar athletes feel on a daily basis.
To take it a step further, imagine every aspect of your life was microscopically analyzed through the cesspool that is social media.
If you or I were to go to drug or alcohol rehab, our anonymity would be largely protected. Our spouses, children, and family members would not have to suffer the scrutiny and embarrassment of having our personal issues displayed all over social media.
If you or I get injured, we do not have millions of people asking everyday, “When the hell are you coming back?” We go to the chiropractor or physiotherapist, get our treatments, and rehab to full health. (At least we should! How many of us rush back from a shoulder injury to play beer league slow-pitch only to hurt it further?)
I am a flawed human being and try to be a better husband, father, son, brother, coach, employee and friend. When I screw-up, and I often do, I do not have the immense weight of social media wrapped around my neck like a millstone. People who spend hours on social media pretending their family/personal life is worthy of others’ attention and trading “likes” to validate their existence can’t appreciate what Carey Price is going through. Social media is dehumanizing and cruel to celebrities and athletes who wish to be left alone.
Carey Price was nothing but a class-act for his entire career. He got booed in a pre-season game and still responded with respect. He never sought the spotlight, but didn't shrivel in it either. Being the starting goalie of the Montreal Canadiens is the hardest job in the NHL. (Pipe down, Leaf fans! Your goalies only get attacked in ONE of our official languages!) He was never given a team with a roster worthy of a legitimate Stanley Cup, yet he never complained. The fact he took the 2021 Habs to the Cup Final speaks to his legacy.
When Hall of Famer Peyton Manning missed the entire 2011 season, the perennial playoff Indianapolis Colts went 2-14. Manning received an MVP vote in a season he did NOT play in - he was that integral to the success of the franchise. Furthermore, the Colts were so bad they got a lottery pick and were able to draft Andrew Luck, yet another franchise QB.
The Habs are in a serious rebuild and need lottery picks again next year. Price’s absence might be the ticket to the plan coming to fruition. How ironic is that?
Bonne chance and thank you to the husband, father, son, and human that is Carey Price.
Waldo1947 | The Disgruntled Habs Fan