A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from August 29, 2012
“An athlete dies twice” (sports proverb)

"An athlete dies twice” is a popular sports adage; the first “death” is the end of a playing career. The saying has been credited to Roger Kahn, who wrote in The Boys of Summer (1972):

“Unlike most, a ball player must confront two deaths. First, between the ages of thirty and forty he perishes as an athlete. Although he looks trim and feels vigorous and retains unusual coordination, the superlative reflexes, the major league reflexes, pass on. At a point when many of his classmates are newly confident and rising in other fields, he finds that he can no longer hit a very good fastball or reach a grounder four strides to his right. At thirty-five he is experiencing the truth of finality. As his major league career is ending, all things will end. However he sprang, he was always earthbound. Mortality embraces him. The golden age has passed as in a moment. So will all things. So will all moments. Memento mori.”

“In a sense, the professional athlete dies twice” was cited in print in 1974.


Google Books
The Boys of Summer
By Roger Kahn
New York, NY: Harper & Row
1972
Pg. XX:
Unlike most, a ball player must confront two deaths. First, between the ages of thirty and forty he perishes as an athlete. Although he looks trim and feels vigorous and retains unusual coordination, the superlative reflexes, the major league reflexes, pass on. At a point when many of his classmates are newly confident and rising in other fields, he finds that he can no longer hit a very good fastball or reach a grounder four strides to his right. At thirty-five he is experiencing the truth of finality. As his major league career is ending, all things will end. However he sprang, he was always earthbound. Mortality embraces him. The golden age has passed as in a moment. So will all things. So will all moments. Memento mori.

22 April 1974, San Diego (CA) Union, “Olsen On Protho: He’ll Be Sharper” by Jack Murphy, pg. C1, col. 1:
In a sense, the professional athlete dies twice. First, he experiences the death of his athletic career. Then, like other mortals, he lives out his remaining time after giving up the high excitement and drama of the arena where victories are celebrated and defeats are mourned.

Google News Archive
7 June 1978, Morning Record and Journal (Meriden,CT), “Perry Not Ready For Baseball Graveyard,” ‎pg. 17, col. 3:
NEW YORK (UPI) - They say a professional athlete dies two deaths. The first comes when he is forced to quit playing and the other Is the natural ending of life.

Google News Archive
28 January 1980, Modesto (CA) Bee, “The ‘manufacturing’ of Olympians,” pg. B3, col. 3:
“They say an athlete dies twice. And it’s true that a certain amount of your identity dies when you retire.”

Google Books
Sport and the Sociological Imagination:
Refereed proceedings of the 3rd Annual Conference of the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, November 1982

Edited by Nancy Theberge and Peter Donnelly; North American Society for the Sociology of Sport. Conference
Fort Worth, TX: Texas Christian University Press
1984
Pg. 225:
His mentor brings up the topic of social death of athletes: “There’s an expression I heard long ago—that an athlete dies twice. . . . You’re going to die three times, Gavin Grey. It can’t be helped.”

ESPN
Marciano’s career mark unique but flawed?
Fifty years after his last fight, Rocky Marciano remains the only heavyweight champ to retire undefeated. How significant is his 49-0 record?

Originally Published: September 21, 2005
By Tim Struby | Special to ESPN.com
(...)
“There’s the old saying that every athlete dies twice,” said Schulian. “Once, when he takes his last breath and the other when he hangs it up.”

Sports Illustrated
September 27, 2010
Super Powers
There’s no mistaking Eastbound & Down’s Danny McBride for The Natural

Pablo S. Torre
It is said that a star athlete dies twice: The first passing is called “retirement.”

ESPN W.
Molly Fletcher gives athletes a voice
Apr 4, 2012 | By Sarah Spain
(...)
“They say an athlete dies twice,” Fletcher said. “They die when they finish competing and then they die when they die. They go from being ‘the man’ to people not taking their call as quickly, people not responding to them. They have not used the community they created in an effective way.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • (0) Comments • Wednesday, August 29, 2012 • Permalink


What I like about your post is that you not only put enthusiasm to your post, all of it has sense. I’m happy that I get to learn while enjoying at the same time.

Posted by rat control  on  08/30  at  12:48 AM

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