As if England's soccer team wasn't already mired in enough scandal and bad luck heading into this summer's world cup, David Beckham recently suffered a tear to his achilles tendon, ending his plans to represent his country on the world's biggest stage one last time. Bummer. And not because his talents are the anchoring cornerstone of his team's success the way they were circa 2000, but because for being one of the sport's most dynamic, decorated, and competitive icons, you can't help but want to see him leave his strongest, most lasting impression at the highest level. Believe me, I was the first to dismiss him as a has-been fashionista and Hollywood playboy when he brought his athletic pursuits to this side of the pond three years ago, but in recent months, he's proven he still has the character and skill to command respect even amongst the international community.
Injuries are the worst nightmare for just about any elite and competitive athlete. I went through far too many in my teenage years. They're like being robbed. Violated, almost. First, there's those feelings of questioning - "why me?" Then frustration, as you watch your sport pass you by, knowing there is nothing you can physically contribute. And in true fairytale fashion, by the end of those prolonged, psychologically crippling moments, you're fueled for the come back of a lifetime.
Unfortunately, in this case, the world cup happens every four years, and at age 34, I suspect we won't be seeing Sir Studley in the next go around.
I'm not sure how the Brits will fare this summer amidst all the drama surrounding their camp: a new captain (put Gerrard in charge!), the Terry/Bridge clash over one's spousal infidelity, Ashley Cole's split with his high-profile wife, and everything else. I can tell you one thing though - I'll miss seeing good ol' Becks out there. Here's to hoping he doesn't end his career in an Herbalife jersey.