Retirements

At the time of farewell, idols nod slightly, look at the public that acclaims them and undertake the final journey to nowhere. The last moment of glory embraces the first breath of decay. Then they cannot be separated from each other.

When Braudilio Vinent was coming down from his immaculate altar when his fastball became a toy, many fans begged him to retire as a way to save himself. Braulio, perhaps proud- undaunted, replied that as long as he was the best pitcher of the East, his throne would remain gravitating ball land … Until one day the time settled accounts with him and dragged him nearly crippled to the dugout. Then he could only youngsters who never rose to his height.

Alicia Alonso, unlike the mythical athlete, remained untouchable in her Parnassus to the last function. When she could no longer see even the lights on the scene, photographers chased her for years, both in the Bolshoi and in the Paris Opera, longing for the fall that would put their pictures on the front page of newspapers around the world. Alicia mocked each, and at 70 years she came to her house, the Gran Teatro de La Habana, to say good-bye to the public that November 2, 1993, exactly half a century after her debut in Giselle.

Then, both Alicia and Vinent, sometime after the “final” goodbye, gave an epilogue to the insatiable public. She did it with her ballet in European theaters; the other, pitching with veterans of Cuba. But there are retirements that are an irrevocable end, only materialize under the irresolute mantle of Death…

After August 1951, CMQ microphones remained silent every Sunday at 8 pm. No speaker could fill the void. Radio receivers remained on in homes, perhaps waiting for the impossible return of the speaker. Who is able to accept the departure of the idol without clinging to hope? With a live shot, on August 6th, the man said good-bye to the people who loved him. He died just 11 days later. The Grim Reaper kissed the forehead of Eduardo Chibas, closed his eyes, and then issued him the only possible retirement policy.

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