Feeling My Age
I watched Don Nelson take revenge on Mark Cuban. If you are not a fan of the NBA than you don’t know that when the Golden State Warriors beat the Dallas Mavericks they completed one of the biggest upsets in NBA history. I
I’ll leave my comments about Mark Cuban for a different time. I’ll withhold my comments about the game too. Instead let me share something that I am sort of struggling with.
I have a birthday coming up. The birthday itself doesn’t faze me at all. What does is looking at the guys who played last night and the realization that in pro sports terms I am ancient. I am almost twice as old as some of the rookies and I have some years on most of the vets.
I came of age with Magic, Kareem, Worthy, Byron, Bird, Barkley, Stockton, Malone, Olajuwon and of course Jordan to name a few. They are all retired now and in some cases for decades.
I used to play pickup games a solid four or five days a week. I can’t do that anymore, at least not at the level I used to play at. My body can’t take the pounding. If I try to my knees and back ache. I have lost a day. I can go three consecutive days of playing hard and then I need a day off.
I try to maintain perspective. It is not a matter of not being able to play. I can do that. It is hard to accept that my body won’t give me everything it used to. I used to be able to just walk on the court and go. I can’t quite do that anymore. It takes a few minutes to warm up. Until I start to break a sweat it feels like I am moving in molasses.
Last night my son asked me when he can start playing with the boys and I. I smiled and told him it would be a few years. At 6.5 he is not nearly big enough to play in these games. If his growth matches my own it will be around nine or ten years. By the time he is 18 he’ll be broad and strong enough to hold his own with his peers and men ten years older.
So what are we saying, that it is going to take another 12 years for him to really get out there. I’ll be 50. How much am I going to have left in the tank. I know that by then I won’t be able to play the same game I do now. I’ll do my best to adapt, but…
What I am really saying is that my male ego is bruised by this thought. I want my son to see me play and to play with me in my prime, but that is just not going to happen. I know that age is a state of mind and that concerns about playing basketball should be the worst problems I have, but I won’t lie and say that sometimes it doesn’t bother me.
And I won’t say that I am not bothered by the new aches and pains that see to accompany waking up in the morning. Or that it isn’t irritating to me to accept that even though I feel like I am 25 the reality is otherwise.
I am going to fight the clock. I don’t care about the new lines in my face or that my hair isn’t quite as thick as it used to be. What I do care about is trying to find ways to improve my physical condition so that I can do what I want for the next 100 years.
You’ll have to excuse me now. It is time to take my Geritol.