Chris Ballard's nine page profile of Jake Plummer in the upcoming issue of Sports illustrated is fantastic, but it's really just a trip to a handball tournament in Idaho to watch a dude fetch beer for his buddies while enjoying life---and that is precisely the point. Jake Plummer walked away from football not to become a normal person, but because he was a normal person, the kind who just wanted to play games for fun, hang out with his family, and grow a beard and wear cargo shorts all the time. This is assumed to be somewhat abnormal in professional sports, and it is, but growing out a beard and hanging around in cargo shorts all the time is all I do anyway, so it sounds fantastic.
The little details you get with long form journalism are all fantastic as expected--Plummer dives into a 57 degree lake wearing only compression shorts, he mother-hens everyone at the tournament by hustling for beer and cheering along wildly--but the most stirring bit is the excerpt from Plummer's eulogy for Tillman. It's supposed to be moving, but seriously, it's moving past the expectations of one athlete mourning another.
To me beauty is living life to higher standards, stronger morals and ethics and believing in them, whether people tell you you're right or wrong. Beauty is not wasting a day. Beauty is noticing life's little intricacies and taking time out of your busy day to really enjoy those little intricacies. Beauty is being real, being genuine, being pure with no facade—what you see is what you get. Beauty is expanding your mind, always seeking knowledge, not being content, always going after something and challenging yourself."
If you didn't already like Plummer after reading A Few Seconds of Panic, you will after reading this. But if you don't respect him after reading it, you don't understand the joys of drinking beer before noon and diving into freezing lakes for the hell of it, and I don't want to know you anyway.