It’s Good to be Old!

Back in July Lance Armstrong, then 37 years old, came in third at the Tour de France. The Tour de France is one on the toughest bike races in the world and boasts one of the most competitive fields in the sport of professional cycling. Armstrong was eleven years older than race winner Alberto Contador and thirteen years older than second place finisher Andy Schleck. Brett Favre, 40 year old quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings, finds himself ranked fourth (based purely on stats) among all NFL quarterbacks this season. Perhaps, even more important than numbers Favre has his team rolling along with a 7-1 record with their sights clearly set on the playoffs. The NFL is a tough league and even young players are chewed up and spit out by the dozen. Favre, who is 40 years old, excels even though he is many years older than the average NFL quarterback.

Science tells us that over time the body begins to slowly deteriorate. We lose muscle tone and our motor skills are not as sharp as they once were. How then can Armstrong and Favre compete at such a high level when they are many years older then their peers? Undoubtedly, both of these individuals are incredibly gifted athletes. One could make the argument that they are among the greatest to ever engage in their respective sports. Genetics play a large role, but I would like to think it is more than just winning the genetic lottery. I would like to think that it is heart that allows both of these athletes to continue to excel. Obviously, both athletes are still paid large sums of money; but they have already made their fortunes. I find it hard to believe that money is driving them to be so great at this stage of their lives. Ego? I am sure ego has something to do with their desire to compete, but is it enough to drive them to the pinnacle of their respective sports? No, I would like to believe that heart is what keeps them at the top. In an era when players only seem to rise to the occasion when their contracts are due it is refreshing to see two great athletes who have nothing to prove excel. What do I mean when I say “heart” keeps them at the top? Armstrong and Favre give their all to their sport. They play with a determination and passion rarely seen at any age. If only we could bottle their spirit and give it to all athletes. Armstrong and Favre show us that you are never too old to be great.

Justin Mayer, Executive Director-ISPA

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3 Responses to “It’s Good to be Old!”

  1. Greg says:

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Andrew says:

    I would have to say that I agree with your “heart” argument here. Focusing just on Favre, you can see a multitude of reasons why he shouldn’t be at the top of his game, yet he is still arguably the best arm/leader in the game today. Think about it this way: In the past 2 years, he was forced to retire, realized he wasn’t done yet, picked up and moved his family to the east coast to play for the Jets, realized he wasn’t done yet, and picked up and moved his family to the tundra. Now, for a man who has daughters (20 and 10 yrs old), it takes more than just money (especially when you already have a fortune) to pick up and move them all over the country and force them to make new friends while daddy tosses the pigskin. I would like to think it is the love of the game and the drive to compete at the highest possible level that keeps these guys at the top. Of course there is some genetics playing a role in the longevity of their careers, but it takes more than superior genes, once people have families and have proven themselves repeatedly, to keep them in the game.

  3. Your blogs are exactly what I have been looking for. Informative, educational and funny all wrapped into one. Just wanted to let you know I will be a continued reader.

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