Michael Strahan's Retirement: the Warning Signs

RikenContributor IJune 10, 2008

Now that I have read from multiple sources that Strahan is retiring, I can't help but wonder about last Saturday morning when he and LaDainian Tomlinson were playing golf at a local charity tournament.

I was waiting for the foursome to tee off at the 18th green last Saturday, June 7, and I felt star struck. I was talking to one of the event's volunteers about how big and strong some of these athletes were, when out of nowhere I turned to my left and there he was: Getting out of his golf cart with the caddie on one side and L.T. in front of him. Mr. G-men himself, Michael Strahan!

He was polite and said hi to the rest of the crowd (maybe 19 of them wearing Charger attire) on the side of the tee box. L.T. was calm and collected, not saying much more than making the occasional wave towards the crowd.

But for some reason, I felt compelled to say something to Mr. Strahan instead. You see; I'm a Chargers fan. Not much of a Giant fan, I have to admit. I wasn't wearing any Giants stuff or had any Giants memorabilia inside my backpack. I was there to watch L.T. and Drew Brees play golf, but for some reason, Brees got paired with some guy named John Elway and another dude named Mario Leimieux. I stood out from the crowd since I wore my Charger Throwback jersey No. 9 (Brees) and not a No. 21 (Tomlinson) like everyone else.

That is why things got started. I'll explain it here:

So I was standing behind the tee box when L.T. hit his drive. It was an ugly drive that started left and hooked right at the final moment, making the golf ball travel some 200+ yards before landing in the middle of the fairway. Everyone started clapping loudly for L.T., when Michael said, "Man, you got nothing but support down here. This Charger can do no wrong?!"

That was funny and got a chuckle out of me. Strahan was next. He wore a dark navy blue golf shirt with grey pants. Anyway, he ripped his ball straight and hard down the middle. Everyone clapped again. He smiled and headed toward his cart.

At this moment, there was a pause after the hits since the caddies were cleaning the clubs and managing the scorecards from the previous hole. I don't know what got into me since I wanted to say something to L.T., but somehow that just didn't seem right. L.T. didn't wanna hear it from the fans. Autograph seekers or whatever. So, inclined to chat with a celebrity I took my chance with Strahan; seating there a mere two feet from where I was standing.

"Congratulations on your Super Bowl win Mr. Strahan!" I raised my voice towards him. "Thank you!!!!" he said, "It was a win for the ages!"

Well that's pretty cool, I thought to myself. 'I can do this' I can actually say something to celebrity athletes without sounding stupid! Meanwhile, he just sat there and no one tried to bother him at all. So, I was about to ask him something else when he turned towards me and with a commanding voice and a puzzled look on his face he asked, "Hey, No. 9? What? Why are you wearing number No. 9?"

I was caught off-guard for a moment. But managed to answer back. "It's for Drew Brees," I replied while turning my back towards Strahan. "I know he's no longer with the Chargers but I appreciate him. Personally, I think the Chargers did him wrong!" L.T. heard that, but he didn't say a thing. I'm telling you, L.T. was acting strange all day. I was expecting him to be joking, maybe happy? I dunno.

In any case, after hearing my response Strahan told me that Drew might appreciate that. In fact, he said Drew was playing behind them and will show up to the 18th pretty soon. After he was done telling me about Brees, Strahan turned towards the front of the golf cart. While glancing towards the mountains in the horizon he uttered, "yeah...this business is not at all what's cracked up to be. There's many problems and you get tired of this s##t."

His own caddy motion something with his fingers (like the money sign) and I thought "Mo' money—Mo' problems."

Yes. Thinking back that sounded quite prophetic. This was Saturday, mind you. Two whole days before the official announcement was made. On an isolated golf course near the I-10 Freeway in the sleepy town of Indio, CA. But there it was. The first seed of the retirement tree.

Strahan and Tomlinson headed towards their balls, and I waived goodbye. The next thing that happened was funny. Strahan was waiting for L.T. to hit his second shot when L.T. hit straight into the pond! Strahan started busting out in laughter, and I couldn't help myself either. L.T. just shook his head and sat in his cart.

I left the place at around 10:30 AM when I ran into Drew Brees and John Elway. Elway sat in his cart; NOT signing autographs after the round was over. In sharp contrast, Brees signed multiple items for the people in attendance and he signed my jersey!

I politely asked him for it, and told him even though it wasn't a Saints jersey, I appreciated his time spent in San Diego. The guy replied "no problem, I'll sign it." and he did. Class act that Brees guy. He told his caddy to move along; he wanted to walk with the fans. At this point, Strahan and L.T. were back at hole No. 9 to begin their second round.

If Strahan retires now, so be it. He got his Super Bowl win and he finished his career in style. Good for him! Maybe he will enjoy a second career as a TV analyst. Either way, Strahan should get nothing but support; this "G-Man" can do no wrong.