A lot of athletes struggle with what to do with themselves once sports are gone. Some of them, likewise, have a difficult time adjusting to the fact that they no longer burn off a few thousand calories in competition anymore and thus the personal habits/physical activity balance gets thrown out of whack. This combination sometimes leads to an aimlessness in their daily activities and, potentially, negative consequences for their health.
This does not seem to be an issue for CC Sabathia.
Sabathia retired after the 2019 season. Before his retirement he battled health problems such as a bad knee and, at one point, a blocked artery. He had struggled with alcohol addiction during his career as well which was probably detrimental to his physical health.
Since his retirement? His time seems to have been spent primarily in the gym and the effects of that were on pretty clear display in this photo, which was verified as legit by his podcasting partner, Ryan Ruocco:
This may be the wildest “After” picture I’ve ever seen. Good on CC for getting after it in retirement💪 pic.twitter.com/UHIvDG8gzs
— Coley Harvey (@ColeyHarvey) May 12, 2020
We have a habit of responding to dramatic weight loss photos in a certain way. By genuinely praising the weight loss and the new look but, in doing so, inadvertently or subconsciously disparaging the “before” of the “before/after” set. By implying — or sometimes expressly saying — that there was something wrong with the person when they were bigger and now that they are smaller they are improved in some way that goes more deeply than just a scale reading or some medical metric. We tend to assign personal value based on perceptions of physical desirability in a way that stigmatizes.
I don’t want to do that with Sabathia. Yes, he was bigger before but he was one of the greatest pitchers of his era and was one of the most beloved teammates of his era. Disparaging the “before” Sabathia” to praise the “after” is something we should be sure to avoid because he’s the same damn person, not some “new version” of himself.
But we can certainly be happy for Sabathia for doing something that, it would appear, was a desire that he had for himself in his retirement. And we can certainly hope Sabathia is a happier man for it.