There has been a big hissing sound in the world of professional sports over the past several months.
That's the sound of the air going out of the ball, when there's too much inflation, then a pop...then a shell without any pressure to hold it firm and intact.
That hissing sound represents the egos of Brett Favre and Lance Armstrong, as their retirement/unretirement dance continues to amaze and intrigue pro football and cycling fans.
Favre retired from the Green Bay Packers, unretired, and sent the Wisconsin team into a tizzy when reporting to training camp. After an ugly public feud, Favre moved on the the New York Jets, and resumed his career without much interruption. Lance is rumored to be coming out of retirement and riding for the Astana Cycling Team, though the team denies it at this point. The comback would include another run at the Tour de France in 2009.
This isn't a judgment call on either athlete. I can't imagine being on top of the world, admired by millions, and then feel the vacuum as one fades into semi-obscurity.
Lance has his cancer foundation, and also friends and playmates from the Hollywood sect. Brett, well, Brett plays football really well. Once away from the game, it seems he found a great deal of unrest, and needed the identity and competition of pro football.
On a much more micro level, I have moaned "no mas" on several occasions regarding 100-mile ultrarunning events. But, the passion inside me cried out for more, and I once again attempt to repair the package so that it can perform again.
Old athletes never die...they just continue to unretire and play the game.