Andrew is gone, so you’re out of ‘Luck’

Published 4:52 pm Friday, August 30, 2019

Andrew Luck and I are the same age, give or take a few months. This is something I learned this past week after news broke late last Saturday about the Indianapolis Colts’ quarterback opting for an early retirement.

Sports analysts and sports fans alike have had plenty to say about the subject since the shocking news was leaked during his last game. There’s been plenty of talk about how young he is to give up a career in football, talk about how he had so many more years left in his career ahead of him, talk about talent we’ll never get to see again. It feels like the question over and over again has been “at his age, did he make the right decision or not?”

Predictably, there was some blowback from his retirement which was based in part by the numerous injuries he’s suffered throughout his career. Unhappy Colts fans booed him as he left the football field for the last time. Irritated sports commentators took to Twitter to express their dismay. Some people were so angry you would think they’d only be satisfied with a retirement announcement after Luck’s body had literally disintegrated into a pile of dust on the 50-yard line.

Those reactions were disheartening for sure, but on a more positive note, far more people have chosen to speak out in support for Luck’s decision, including even the team he’s leaving behind. Just look at the myriad of news articles already written about why this was a good decision too.

Everyone, it seems, has a very vocal opinion about the situation.

But everyone also seems to forget that it was Luck’s decision, and his alone, to retire. Though I can absolutely understand his decision, it doesn’t matter what I think. It doesn’t matter what any fans think, positive or negative. He should have the ability to make any decision about his life without worrying how strangers will perceive it.

How did we get to a point in society where strangers think they should get a say in celebrities’ or other strangers’ personal lives?

Here’s another example: last year, a guy in a band I like decided he’d take a temporary break from the group to pursue college studies. You’d have thought, however, from fan reactions that he’d announced he was dying.

I can understand being disappointed that it’ll be a while before people see him with the band again, but I can’t understand being angry at the guy for making a decision for his own personal life. He even offered an apology to the fans for his decision.

I read something a few months ago about “parasocial relationships.” Basically, that’s when fans consider themselves as “friends” to the celebrity or public figure they’re keeping up with despite limited or no interactions. A fan may read or watch interviews with celebrities and feel more connected with their lives. A fan may get a few interactions with celebrities on social media and think there’s a genuine relationship forming there. You may think you know everything about the celebrity in question, but in reality, you’re still a stranger to them.

That’s an unhealthy way of thinking, in my opinion, and it just ends up causing a lot of unnecessary stress for everyone involved. If you know anyone (especially young people) who seems way too invested in a celebrity’s life, maybe ask them to take a step back for a while. Remind them to focus on what’s happening in their own lives instead of the lives of people they don’t even know. You can find a healthier balance to being a fan of someone.

I simply think people shouldn’t have to deal with strangers judging their every decision. If you’re weighing an important choice, it’s good to consult with family and friends about it. But strangers? Nah, they can keep their opinions to themselves.

Holly Taylor is a Staff Writer at Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact her at or 252-332-7206.