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t was an historic day on both sides of the Pond — the 10th anniversary of the “Miracle on the Hudson” when Capt. “Sully” Sullenberger landed US Airways Flight 1549 in the river, saving all 155 aboard, and the day the old Tappan Zee Bridge deliberately went down, taking with it coincidentally Theresa May’s Brexit deal dream as the House of Commons voted by a more than 2 to 1 margin to reject her plan for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union.
When an athlete retires, it is a little death. People start speaking about him in the past tense, as if he were truly gone instead of just moving on to another chapter of his life.
But in a way, athletic retirement is a kind of death. Few occasions remind us so much of our mortality as the thought of a seemingly invincible body now broken down or past its prime. Few engender so many memories and what-ifs, particularly if you identify with the athlete.
Few sports offer that identification the way tennis does. A team like the New York Yankees has a host of players to adore (and, on occasion, vilify). But a tennis match has only four players at a moment at best. And, if you’re a singles player, then it’s just you — and all those people out there who see you in themselves and themselves in you.