Like much of print media, Sports Illustrated ain't what it used to be, but once in awhile the magazine can still grab your attention, and the current issue, its annual "Where Are They Now" issue, is one of them.
(As an aside, the fact that SI has to resort to such tropes as where-are-they-now features, tells you all you need to know about the state of the magazine, but what the heck.)
This particular issue features four stories that captured my attention, and that I would highly recommend to you.
The first was the cover story on Sammy Sosa, and would you have even recognized him if his name wasn't plastered on the cover along with that picture?
The second is on tennis great Martina Navratilova.
The third is on former football star turned sportscaster turned celebrity pal, Ahmad Rashad.
And the fourth is on Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench, and this is my favorite story in the issue. Despite how he tortured the Pirates throughout his career, I have always liked Bench and consider him to the the best catcher that I have ever seen. He is now 70 years old and is a single father of two young sons (a sixth grader and a third grader) living in Florida. Despite his rocky marital history (married and divorced four times), he seems to be a remarkably happy and settled individual, happy and at ease with his past and the life he currently leads.
A couple of great quotes from him....
- On where he finds himself in life: "The great thing about it is, I knew I had a life. You feel bad, some of these guys, they walk away, and they didn't save a dime."
- On why he never became a manager, even though many thought he would be perfect for such a role: "I don't want to deal with incompetence. I played on a team that was the level of what it was. Really, its hard for me to accept people who don't make an effort, are not professional. The great thing in my life is, I don't have to deal with them."
- And a reflection on his career and his life today: "If what you did yesterday is big to you now, then you haven't done much lately."
There's more, and it's a great story, and a great issue.