Almanac Short Story: Moral Dilemma

He comes into my office head slightly bowed and submissive. He doesn’t look me in the eye as I gesture to sit in the seat. My office has been created in two halves, one where I like to work from behind a partition the other an open area with a round table and two chairs.


“Thought I’d come in and just see where I’m at,” he began with a humble almost pathetic look on his face . He’d always been shy but had also been a warrior. I wasn’t sure how to answer him because whilst I might need him later in the year if we got injuries the truth was he was gone. It was a moral dilemma for me. Do I tell him the truth or string him out like I had to so many before him-  and would have to do to plenty after. I pictured him in all his glory, an extremely well prepared professional who was ferocious in his attack on the ball or his opponent. He had gone to the well many, many times when others were spent. His training was always of such a high level he pushed himself like few I had ever seen. In that way he was a true leader. To top it off he played for well below what his market value was, such was he the person.


But now he reminded me of my old lab retriever who had buckled in the legs, teeth had fallen out and struggled to hear and see. The kids loved that dog, he had been a great companion and was a true member of the family. The vet said we could get a few more years out of him if he had a couple of minor operations to cut out some cancerous lumps he had developed. I considered the course of action and the ramifications of my decision. I could feed him less as it was a waste. Just like I could no longer feed my player with hope. I had to do the right thing.


I had him put down.




  1. Colin Ritchie says

    It’s that “Sophie’s Choice” option, one or the other, bite the bullet, and live with it! So difficult, thankfully I haven’t been in a position needing to make such a profound choice. I’d imagine there are a lot of coaches weighing up the playing options of their players at the moment.

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