"Age wrinkles the body. Quitting wrinkles the soul." - General Douglas MacArthur
I don't know if its fair to call Boston Bruins Tim Thomas taking a season off as quitting. To read Thomas' explanation, is to find a man who wants to reconnect with the truly important things in life.
"Most important thing I can do in my life is reconnect with the three F's. Friends, Family and Faith."
You certainly can't argue or condemn a man who wants to give more of himself to his family, and his God. Mind you if you read some of the comments on various online articles, you will notice a litany of people making an effort to do just that.
I sympathize with Tim Thomas. I can speak with experience on missing your family. Since the lockout I have spent all but two seasons away from my family. It is time you never get back. There are school outings, hockey games, lunches, dinners and family drama that I have abdicated to my wife because of my job. It is impossible to be a good Dad from 1800 miles away. There is not a day during the season when you don't feel guilty about missing the fantastic monotony of family with the most important people in your life.
On the other hand, this is a choice that we made. My job is a great job with a great organization that I love. My wife understands my passion for broadcasting and hockey.
I understand that she is a Saskatoon Girl and she is comfortable at home. My kids "get it." They understand their father has a rocking job and I am providing as best I can for them. With the perks some sacrifice is required.
Every person and every family is different. In Thomas' case there is another issue. The legally binding contract he signed with the Bruins. We can all agree that within a pro hockey team a certain level of sacrifice and conformity is expected. For that a high level of compensation is given.
Within the team confines you are expected to fulfill your obligations. Expected by your teammates, your coaches, management and the fans.
Those people can be unforgiving and even vicious when a player asserts his individuality.
When Ricky Williams left the Miami Dolphins just days before training camp in 2004, I had no problem with it. I loved the fact that a very unique individual didn't have the passion or could conjure up the sacrifice to go through the grind of a season. Instead of going through the motions and being miserable, he left football. To this day he believes it was the most positive thing he has ever done in his life.
I can disagree with Ricky Williams or Tim Thomas on lifestyle, politics and faith. We can disagree what it means to be a good teammate. However I don't believe that if you join a team you give up your individuality or happiness. I take Tim Thomas at his word.
Having strong beliefs and convictions is not a character flaw. Selfishness in favor of your family is not selfish.
"For family is a haven in a heartless world."