Indy without Luck, but Brissett won't play Thursday

In this Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, file photo, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck speaks during a news conference following the team's NFL preseason football game against the Chicago Bears, in Indianapolis. The Colts launch into the post-Luck era with his successor on the bench. Coach Frank Reich plans to sit Jacoby Brissett against the Bengals on Thursday night, the Colts’ first game since Andrew Luck announced his retirement. Either Phillip Walker or Chad Kelly will start, competing for the No. 2 job.

Last week, I called a friend to borrow a planer so I could shave off the top of a door that wouldn’t close, but he had loaned it to somebody else and couldn’t remember who.

“Couldn’t remember who” or was this just the end of August? He was barely making it and so were the rest of us. September is here and with it hope. Hope, that by October, cooler weather is on the way.

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I thought it was the best sports story in months. A happy ending that ended somewhere in the middle rather than at the end when it could have been less happy.

I’m talking about Andrew Luck, the brilliant quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts who suddenly retired at 29, two weeks before the season was to start.

Good move. Smart move. Gutsy move.

The last four years for Luck have been a misery of injury and rehabilitation: shoulder sprain, torn cartilage in the ribs, partially torn abdomen, lacerated kidney, concussion, torn labrum in his right shoulder and now a calf and ankle problem that won’t heal.

I’m a lightweight but I can’t imagine playing one day in the NFL much less the seven years that Luck did.

Luck gave plenty and performed well. In his seven seasons in the NFL, he passed for more than 4,000 yards four times and finished with 23,671 yards and 171 touchdowns.

He also got pounded on the field and although he stands to surrender close to $400 million in salary, the trade-off of becoming healthy and embracing the second, third and four halves of his life seemed like a good trade.

Good for him.

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Ken Burns and his new documentary "COUNTRY MUSIC," an eight-part, 16-hour look at the history of this American art form, premieres Sept. 15 on PBS.

"COUNTRY MUSIC" tracks the evolution of country music over the course of the 20th century, as it became America’s music. The documentary has tons of stories and includes artists like the Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, Bill Monroe and Bob Wills to Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn, Charley Pride, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Garth Brooks and more.

I was lucky enough to see a one-hour preview when Burns came to the Fox a few weeks ago. It was good. When Burns covers a subject, it stays covered.

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Shafter’s finest Dolly Hei sent me this recently on the birthday of Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges (books by this author), who was born in 1899.

“In 1955, at about the same time he lost his sight, Borges was appointed director of Argentina's National Public Library. He said: 'Little by little I came to realize the strange irony of events. I had always imagined Paradise as a kind of library. Others think of a garden or a palace. There I was, the center, in a way, of 900,000 books in various languages, but I found I could barely make out the title pages and spines.'"

Borges wrote the "Poem of the Gifts," which begins: 'No one should read self-pity or reproach / into this statement of the majesty of God, who with such splendid irony / granted me books and blindness at one touch.'"

What an attitude.

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An attitude shared by Spanish endurance athlete Antonio de la Rosa, who recently spent 76 days, five hours, and 22 minutes paddling across the Pacific Ocean, on his 24-foot long stand-up paddle board, The Ocean Defender.

"Going alone does not mean being alone," he said.

Words of wisdom for all of us.

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Song of the week is “Will You Be Ready to Go Home,” (“Were You There?” is a strong second) by Seldom Scene. Good old-fashioned harmonies from a group that specialized in them. The bluegrass group released “Baptizing” in 1979. The entire album is a delight.

Herb Benham is a columnist for The Bakersfield Californian and can be reached at hbenham@bakersfield.com or (661) 395-7279.

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