in the off-the-field kingdom of the “real world” when his playing days are over.
As I age and get into my “September years” I have the good fortune and the pain of analyzing as a professional over the last 27 years – yes I started doing this when I was 15 at The News American – just what these athletes and all of this fame really does for them and for their communities.
And as Tesla once sang: “It’s not what ya got, it’s what you give…”
And so this blog might get a little “heavy” today for some of you but that’s OK. Feel free to comment below or stop reading if you don’t like it but I’d like to propose a few “scenarios” – or based on Joe Flacco’s haircut this week, some “situations” – that Ray Lewis could adopt over the next quarter century of his life and beyond. I’ve used real-life characters who’ve chosen to participate in many ways and help many people as examples or role models in this journey.
First, let’s start with this: Ray Lewis is a man of God. Whatever that means to you and whatever you think about No. 52 never, ever question his religious conviction.
So knowing his philosophy and his message to “serve people” once his massive obligation to playing the game is complete – the diet, film study, rest, physical toll of being an NFL football player – when all of that regimen is gone, it’ll be interesting to see how he fills his days and what part of the world he chooses to “serve.”
There will be a massive pull on the time of Ray Lewis for the rest of his life.
This blog isn’t designed to be a challenge or a “suggestion box” because only Ray Lewis will know what his greater calling will be in the end. And like any life journey, it will take twists and turns along the way. Ray Lewis has already had more than a few twists and turns.
But if you want to discuss political power during a week when these arrogant, foolish politicians are buying TV time every night running smear campaigns against each other this is a far more interesting debate in my mind.
Ray Lewis has REAL power – the kind that can’t be purchased or bought through an office of public service. And it’s not the kind with a four-year life cycle. Ray could use the rest of his life in Baltimore to be a positive force for greater change.
That’s not a compliment, that’s just a FACT.
He’s got the kind of power on the streets of Baltimore because he’s got credibility, believability and authenticity – life’s richest and most rare commodity and one that is universally accepted as a gold standard.
Ray Lewis has been tireless – and very humble – about his contributions to the city and the urban decay of Baltimore. He’s praised consistently by every civic leader I’ve spoken with regarding his service but I seriously doubt Ray Lewis will take the Peter Boulware or Michael Jackson (the former teammate) route and run for civic office.
Maybe we shouldn’t expect these superior athletes to write a “second act” as impressive as the first one on the field but God bless them for trying. And many of them do succeed later in the life – their seed of competitive fire comes to light even off of the field and many do try to make the world a better place.
And I know one thing: Ray Lewis is going to throw a TON of time and energy into SOMETHING in retirement. And whatever that is will have some flair and will certainly have a resolve that only No. 52 can bring to the party.
So to open the debate I thought I’d offer up a semi-serious take – one complete with odds for you junkies who need to have a number on it, especially on a weekend sans Ravens “action”