This week has seen a lot of retirements in the NFL. Some that were pretty big names like Peyton Manning and Calvin Johnson. But the announcement of the retirement of Matt Hasselbeck probably won’t get as much attention but is one that resonates with me.
Flash back to the fall of 2005. I had moved to Seattle in January of that year and had made it my home. I had the opportunity to go to the Sunday Night game that season against the Houston Texans. That was the first time I got to watch Hasselbeck play in person (and first time to see a Seahawks game in person). That was one of the coolest experiences I have had at a sporting event and I still remember how loud it was when the Seahawks scored over and over again. I fell in love with that team and that is why I still root for them to this day. I also became a huge Hasselbeck fan. He led the team that season to their first Super Bowl appearance (and I contend to this day that they should’ve won that Super Bowl if the refs hadn’t blown several big calls). He was one of my favorite QBs and always enjoyed watching him play.
After he left Seattle, I was happy when he landed in Tennessee and played several seasons with the Titans. And although he ended up finishing his career with division rival Indianapolis, I still rooted for him personally.
As great a player as he was, he was just as great if not more as a person. He is a strong believer and follower of Jesus and lives out his faith in a way that is a strong encouragement. He is a great family man as well.
He has a great opportunity joining the broadcast team at ESPN. I wish him nothing but the best and know he’ll do a great job there. Thank you Matt for a great career. I cherish my Seahawks Hasselbeck jersey that is in my closet and still break it out sometimes for big time Seahawks games. May God continue to bless you and your family and thank you for the wonderful memories that Seahawks fans will cherish for a long time.
Yesterday was a bittersweet day. The news broke on twitter that Bryan Danielson aka Daniel Bryan was announcing his retirement from professional wrestling. This was inevitably due to injuries, specifically to concussions. He gave a heartfelt retirement speech on Monday Night RAW last night and was thankful of all the fans and was in his words “grateful”.
I have been a fan of Danielson’s work for many years, long before he came to the WWE. I have had seasons where I’ve gotten in and out of watching professional wrestling. One of the times I got back into was the mid 2000’s. It was during this time that I learned about an independent promotion called Ring of Honor. They had some really cool wrestlers that are well known today. One of those was Danielson. He had the nickname “The American Dragon” and his wrestling style was very old school in the vein of a Bret Hart, Dean Malenko and Shawn Michaels (who initially trained Danielson).
Along with being such a cool wrestler, he had the best entrance music. His entrance music was Europe’s “The Final Countdown”. And fans would chant along when it got to line “It’s the final countdown!” It was pretty sweet
Throughout his run in WWE, he was really the “ultimate underdog”. Even though he had tremendous success in the independents, he had to earn everything including respect from the bosses in WWE. Because he didn’t have the size that is known for the company, he became a star because of how well liked he was and that he really was a great professional wrestler. It all culminated at Wrestlemania 30 when he became the only man to win 2 matches at Wrestlemania on the same night and became the WWE World Heavyweight champion. (Well I should say 2 matches not involving a tournament, Macho Man Randy Savage won 3 matches back in Wrestlemania 4)
Danielson is from Washington state. He was born and raised in Aberdeen, a city I visited several times when I lived in Seattle when I would travel to the coast. He’s a huge Seattle Seahawks fan like myself. He’s a guy that I never got to see wrestle live in person but I have watched a lot of his matches. It is bittersweet that his career is over but he has the next phase of his life to succeed. And he did provide one more thing that is pretty cool. And that is the “Yes!” chant. So to you “American Dragon”, this one is for you. “Yes! Yes! Yes!”