Why they step back in the ring
- Navy officer dies on board INS Kolkata off Mumbai
- Subrata Roy to remain in Tihar, Supreme Court calls Sahara's proposal "dishonourable"
- Arvind Kejriwal stopped on way to meet Narendra Modi
- Modi's next round of Chai pe charcha doesn't have police permission yet
- SC issues notice to Centre on Kiran Reddy's PIL against creation of Telangana
All motorways led to Manchester over the weekend as Freddie Flintoff's old mates Steve Harmison and Matthew Hoggard converged ringside to watch their ex-bowling partner have a go at America's amateurish pro heavyweight Richard Dawson. After plenty of slaps veiled to look like jabbing, Flintoff had his big debut win, but even this ferocious pack of former pacers, used to gee-ing each other up, breathed an audible sigh of relief when it finished.
Flintoff was quick to admit he wouldn't get carried away, and wisely put off any future commitment to boxing till after Christmas. But he was clearly chuffed calling it a personal achievement and battle with something that didn't come naturally to him.
So what makes an Ashes legend go dig a scrap like that. Surely, not a seven-year-itch for glory.
They say the competitive juice never leaves you.
Cricket all-rounder Adam Hollioake chased mixed martial arts. The added money didn't hurt. Cricket celebrity certainly helped when the likes of Mark Ramprakash channeled the brimming adrenaline into a dance-competition, even as Freddie himself found outlets like bungee jumping and adventure travel once the county criss-crossing was over.
Former Kiwi rugby union pro Jeff Wilson got restless and fetched up on a cricket field for a one-day series in 1993, and then a dozen years later against Australia, before a battered body finally forced him to hang up all manners of boots. Fallen sprint star Marion Jones lived out her "team sport" dream by turning out in WNBA's Tulsa Shock, and Jamaicans Bolt and Blake keep talking about a "lighter" and shared workload playing T20 cricket after they're done dashing.
Even Michael Jordan couldn't buck the temptation, though his baseball stint with Scottsdale Scorpions was hardly high-flying. Getting used to retirement in 30s must be pretty rough. A different sport, fewer expectations and return of that competition-rush are then great boredom-killers.