Running legend Murray Halberg never announced his retirement. He always maintained that calling it quits had an air of finality about it. No one was going to tell him when to hang up his shoes.

Announcing retirement, unless one is headed for one of those venerable institutions, should signal the end. Bumbling boxers have made an art form of going into and out of retirement. They, of course, have the lure of silly money to sway their decision.

Michael Jordan, not short of a dollar, also popped in and out of retirement.

Brian Lochore was called out of semi-retirement in 1971 to partner Colin Meads at lock in place of an injured Peter Whiting, and Jeff Wilson took a year off - but without announcing any retirement - before returning for one last fling.


Sandra Edge called time out, but came back to become one of our greatest netballers.

Some retire from the big time then quietly return at lower levels like the Champions golf tour or born-again tennis events.

Rugby players head to Japan or France. Others, and champion jockey Lance O'Sullivan springs readily to mind, make what appear commonsense decisions to get out while they are in one piece and capable of enjoying the spoils of a successful career.

Retirement stories are often media-driven. They rejoice in sending our sporting heroes to pastures greener. They then make it an even bigger deal - and often the wait is not long - by lauding the comeback.

Mark Sorenson is the most recent example of this phenomenon.

He made himself available for, and won a spot in, the world champion Black Sox squad for a sixth world championship.

Most happily accept his decision to again step up to the plate, and recognise the popular 35-year-old as a likely key member in a team chasing a third win.

Sorenson's mana and ability are unquestioned. But why, many ask, did he announce his retirement from the international game two years ago when a home-based championship beckoned?

Confirmation of his return and ultimate selection understandably overshadowed the announcement of the team to play in Christchurch early next year.

Which begs the question: Should the public be pleased that a favourite son, and one obviously capable of making a contribution, has won a place in the team?

Or should there be greater concern that his return to a team who have been successful without him has robbed a player of his place on their sport's biggest stage.

The feeling surely is that retirement is just that - the decision to fade quietly away and open the door for the next cab off that rank.