Dear Brendan Cannon

Dear Brendan,

Sorry to hear that injury has caused you to prematurely retire. But at least you didn't have to retire because you were crap and no one passed you the ball, like I did. You will get used to not being recognised when you walk down the street. I never get recognised when I walk down the street, it's as if these people don't know who I am or what I did. You'd think I was the invisible man or I'm in some weird Jim Carrey film where I've had my identity stolen, except that it's funny in a ha-ha way and not a clever way. But I have come to terms with it as I'm sure you will.

And when people say "Hey, didn't you used to be Brendan Cannon?" just nod and move on. At least that's what I would do but I've never been Brendan Cannon so I can't really comment.

Retirement will be harder than you think. It was for me. No more getting up every Saturday morning for five months of the year and hanging around the house watching music videos before a quick lunch and off to Moore Park in time for the toss and a quick stretch.

I've just been reading that sports psychologists say that retiring sports stars will experience depression, frustration, shock and grief. To that I add confusion, because I didn't experience any grief and the frustration came before the depression. This just confused me and made me question whether I retired too early. My former team mates though have been highly supportive and say that if anything I retired too late.

The other thing you will miss is the adrenaline rush of playing competitive sport. For me it was the half a dozen times each season when I didn't knock on and when an opponent got caught up in my arms and it was ruled a tackle by the coach.

You are never truly ready to retire, as I’m sure you’ll agree. Don’t get me wrong. I’d seen the writing on the wall pretty much from the day I first struggled with the tape around my ears (blindside flanker has never been more apt), but when it happened it still came as a shock not seeing my name listed as emergency reserve on the team sheet.

You might find it helps to keep training, just to keep your fitness up. Indeed I still take myself to the pub after games even though I don’t know where the boys are playing or even if.

Hopefully you have some qualifications or another career ready to fall back on, maybe in the media or maybe writing a sports blog that nobody reads. It’s good too to have experienced a real job before starting your career so you know what to expect, but then again, I delivered pizzas for a long time and that sucked.

Don’t get me wrong. A 9-5 job is tough. And that’s why I suggest you go for a 10-3 job.

Just remember that most people would give their right arm to have had the sporting career that you had, except those that don’t fancy getting their neck crushed in the bottom of a scrum of course.

So I hope you get to fill the black hole, the void, that awaits. Sure you might miss the discipline of a coach or manager telling you what to do and when. I guess I’m just fortunate that I still have people telling me where to go and to get off their property.

Good luck mate. Just remember too that while money can’t buy love it can buy fast cars and big TVs.

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