Posts Tagged ‘getting older’

It’s Good to be Old!

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

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