Friday, December 02, 2005

Aging Jocks: Should They Give It a Rest?

My college magazine arrived in the mail this week. It isn't the most interesting issue, since it is filled with the lists of those who have given money or scholarships or funded a new building or a chair. Hardly anyone I knew well in school has given much money (including me) so I didn't even read the names.

What did interest me was an article, with a photo of four old geezers from my era, who are STILL playing basketball, nearly every day, apparently looking to retain the glory that was theirs in the late 1950's and early 60's. Why do some men continue to seek fame through sports, into what should be their waning years? Why not put all that energy into something worthwhile and productive? The constant search for the youthful exhiliration of long ago is very sad to me. Applause is necessary to these men, it seems. I can understand an actor, for example, who forever tries to recreate the feeling he has when he becomes well known for his ability. Actors can ply their craft no matter what their age. But jocks? Why can't they just live on past glory when it is obvious they are too old for the sport?

I know it can be argued that they should be commended for staying in shape, for exercising their bodies, and setting a good example for the younger generation, but I suppose that the problem for me is that I know the history of one of these four men over the course of his life from college graduation on, and it is not pretty. His love for and refusal to give up basketball and male camaraderie was very instrumental in the breakup of his marriage, and the partial estrangement of his children. His life is sad with a capital "S", in my opinion.

Do you know an aging athlete who appears to be living in the past? What advice would you give him/her?




22 comments:

sage said...

I tell myself to put more arch on the ball...

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I actually don't know any aging jocks...Oh Dear! But, if I did, I'd tell him to stay in as good shape as possible...and I guess he would take that to mean..Play Ball!!! (lol)

ribbiticus said...

i would probably say leave while you're still on top. it would be better to be remembered while in your prime rather than when you're fumbling and barely able to keep up with players half your age.

hiya judy! :)

panthergirl said...

I think this is all part of the Peter Pan syndrome so common amongst those of the male persuasion...and so detrimental to marriage (I am speaking from experience here).

Think about it. Have you EVER heard a woman say "I'm going to get married and settle down"? It's like some men think that they get to be kids forever.

Here by way of Michele today! I have a feeling I'll be back, so I'm going to save reading the earlier posts for later...

Bec of the Ladies Lounge said...

Hi Judy, Here fromMichele's tonight. I'm married to an ageing ex-athlete who is paying the price now for his oh-so-active past! Dicky knees and arthritic shoulders from football, varicose veins from baseball catching (true!) and on it goes... but apart from playing with our little ones he certainly doesn't pretend he's still a teenager: how sad would that be?!

Peter said...

Hi Judy, oh to have that much energy, I'm afraid my get up and go got up and went a few years back.

Plumkrazzee said...

My grandpa was one such man. He jogged 7 miles a day from age 30-65. He was too old for this behavior, but wouldn't listen...until one day, out on a dirt road, he fell over from a massive heart attack. A passing utility truck called 911, and after 2 open heart surgeries, and a 3 week hospital stay, he figured out he wasn't 30 anymore. There is no advice men like this would listen to, so why bother?

dorothy rothschild said...

From your mouth to Mick Jagger's ear, darlin'.

poopie said...

Well, I've never been much of an athlete so I can't relate. I guess it's like anything else folks don't want to let go of as they age. Women just do it differently..like with lots of makeup and stuff!

Gerbera Daisy said...

I agree with Panthergirl on this. It is part of the Peter Pan syndrom. It is common among the male persuasion. AND detrimental to marriage. I too, speak from experience on this.

Duke_of_Earle said...

Excuse me? Peter Pan? Male "persuasion??"

I would draft an lengthy reply, but I have a tee time.

John

Jamie Dawn said...

The movie Napoleon Dynamite (fun movie by the way) had a guy in it that lived his glory days of football. It showed what you're talking about in a funny, mocking sort of way, but the truth of it was apparent.
I do applaud them for staying in shape, but they should be pouring as much energy into their relationships and other priorities.

Tan Lucy Pez said...

Half of the Little League coaches I've known fall into this category.

It's wonderful to stay in shape. But those guys who just live, for the old days are sad indeed.

margalit said...

Don't know a soul like this, but then I didn't know the jocks in college either.

Michele sent me.

craziequeen said...

Here from Michele's :-) this time.

We don't have ageing 'jocks' in the UK, but we have ageing everything else! Perhaps it's because it's all they know? Or they need the security of their glory-days through the rest of their empty lives?

cq

WendyWings said...

I can't say that I really know anyone like this but I am sure they are out there :)
Michele sent me

dena said...

I don't know anyone that takes it to the "glory" level. Most of the people I know that might be considered aging do it purely for the exercise.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

I would say: Joe Theismann, get the hell off the airwaves. You have the most grating voice and you are the biggest know-it-all in history. Go retire someplace already.

bornfool said...

The closest situation that I'm aware of is some aging softball players around here who take the game and their abilities way to seriously. It's sad really.

YellowRose said...

I married a jock...you know the type who in high school played all sports and excelled in them all. Well, when we first married he couldn't face facts he wasn't "Mr. Jock" anymore so he played every extra curricular sport he could...till he started having trouble keeping up with the younger guys...and his knees gave out, and he started getting out of shape, etc. etc...Now he laughs at himself when I remind him of his "jock" days!! He did get to live through his son playing though....so he was happy once again!

Here via Michele's tonight!

srp said...

What can you say about men? Well, with certain exceptions in mind (Vicki's for example), they are worth worrying about. It seems "you can't live with them, but you can live without them." That has been my experience anyway.

Paul said...

Hi.
You asked, "Why not put all that energy into something worthwhile and productive? " What would you consider appropriate?

And along the same lines, how can we get rid of that 65-year-old soprano . You know who I'm talking about: the one in the front row of the church choir who's been a whole note off-key for the past 22 years.

Interesting post, but I respectfully suggest that it's way off base.

Paul