The Joy of watching the youth in old age
Sports belong to the youth, or so we have been told. It is said to be the domain of the young muscled boys bubbling with energy and young girls whose ambition glitters as keenly as their braces. It is uncommon to recognize talent among the aging gladiators. Sports belongs to the fast, speedy, energetic young guns and anything that pumps out enough adrenaline out of the common viewer. The public see it in the youth and are contented with what is present. People presume sport to be ruled by the young blood and feel its a close shop once you hit the early thirties. Amidst all this assumptions, the bunch of old relics heed not to this. They just comb back their grey hairs, stick to the basics and are on time for the field play to resume their passion. The timeless magic always present in them.
The prime of any sportsman might be his youth, but there is still as much fuel left in some even at their supposed old age. When you see Ryan Giggs find gaps in defense with such ease, Tendulkar adjusting himself a bit to find the fence of a good ball, its sheer brilliance. Ecstasy know beyond anything. You might not see them running at the pitch hard for hours or slogging it out at the nets. They might opt to cross-train. Spend more time on an exercise bike or with a Terra band instead. It is not uncommon for an athlete to find his peak late. The thing is the desire. What is common in the youth is the fire power, tenacity and stamina. The ageing gladiators though are short in these. What they make up in is sheer brilliance, experience and limitless heart. They might not be able to run the whole pitch around, but they will help cut out the oppositions plays with great reading or themselves create the killer pass. They might not come down the track each ball with a wild slash of the bat, but instead elegantly move a bit to just chip it up and get the same number of runs.
The common myth is the assumption that a little armory is lost with time. Its plain fool hardy. The fact is that the range widens with time. Its irreplaceable. Warne still terrified young batsmen in the recent IPL‘s. Agassi was a huge threat at the latter stage of his career and in fact peaked only in the second phase of his career. Sachin appears to be going just as strong as he was 20 years back. Maybe better too. Amidst watching all the guns blazing among the youth, its as much fun in watching the old fight it out in wily manner. You might not see the energy, but the elegance is in fact better. Amidst all the enigma created by Garreth Bale and his terrifying runs, the pleasure watching his fellow countryman Ryan Giggs just turn and beat a defender is priceless. Sports may belong to the yout, but it is as much pleasure in watching ageing gladiators and the joy in watching them is known beyond bounds.