Only so many kicks a man can take
Ach, the retirement of Dan Parks leaves me with a strange feeling in my guts. It's not the finest moment in the history of our game nor in our relationship with our players.
As a journalist and a fan I feel tarnished by this in a way I find hard to explain.
I think he retired after the World Cup but was persuaded to come back to help Scotland in this Six Nations as Ruaridh Jackson was injured and neither Greig Laidlaw nor Duncan Weir were deemed ready.
And he got most of the blame.
He is, I am told, a great bloke and he told his team mates he was leaving in a tear-filled speech.
If I am totally honest I suspect that even Dan Parks knew during his time in a blue jersey that he had limitations, but then so have we all and in all walks of life.
But, because he was of Australian descent, I think Dan Parks has always been a more fragile target than he might otherwise had been.
I know that might be an unacceptable thing to say, but just as in the treatment of Matt Williams, the Aussie who coached Scotland, the target was always easier because, probably, the target wasn't going to stay in Scotland.
A stand-off handles the ball as much as anyone, Parks was the goal-kicker and drop-kicker too.
He never looked like the hardest tackling player in the business. Dan Parks, in short, was high profile.
I watched him single-handedly win games for Glasgow. I watched him win games for Scotland - remember that last minute touchline penalty in Dublin?
And I've watched him pat what appeared to be the bottom of every team mate during games. He has an extraordinary mind, honed from memorising car number plates as a wee boy.
How to end this?
I feel that a player who wanted to retire and get away from the (only sometimes) negative attention then found himself invited back into the squad, parachuted into the team for the first Six Nations, and then subject to criticism when the team lost with him in the starting fifteen.
We'll find out very soon whether he knew he had been dropped or whether the bad press became too much... and my suspicion is that it was the former.
Two things come to mind: the first is that he has been a superb servant to Scotland who won games for Glasgow and Scotland with some extraordinary play, usually involving a precision kick of one type or another.
The second is that all things must pass and a new man will play in the Number 10 jersey.
Whatever, I can't help but feeling that of all the players Scotland has ever fielded, Dan Parks is the one player who has had more unwarranted criticism than any other.
I don't feel very proud.