None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.
-Henry David Thoreau
Age is something we all face. It is the sad irony of life that just as our brains begin to really get a handle on things, our bodies begin to lose the ability to maximize its potential. In the sports world this window of time is known as a player's "prime." The amount of time contained in a player's prime varies, as some bodies betray the prematurely while others take longer to figure things out. A great example of this theory in action is with the Big 3 of the Miami Heat. From the point two years ago when LeBron got absolutely embarrassed against the Mavericks in the Finals, James has begun to figure it out and find the full potential in that amazingly athletic body. His role not only as the best player in the game but also the singular leader of that Heat team has been very impressive to watch, no matter what your opinion is of him and "The Decision." It appears LeBron has finally trained to become a full basketball Jedi, like Jordan and Kobe before him, and clearly has "The Force." It should make for a great series in The Finals.
Meanwhile #2 of the Big 3, Dwayne Wade, has began to feel the effects of age. His smallish frame has taking a pounding over years of exceptional basketball. He has played with such an explosive and violent brand of hoops that he can't quite do what he once did. You can still see the constant passion as a glimmer in his eyes, but now it only comes in short bursts on the court. How an athlete, or in fact any of us, deal with that change and still maximize our assets is critical to growing old "gracefully." It reminds me of what ESPN's Mark Schlereth once said about recovering from all the many injuries he had. He said that during his rehab he would learn what his "new 100%" was now and just strived for that. He knew attaining the level he had when he was 22 years old with fresh young knee ligaments was impossible. But by changing his focus, he could still contribute to his team and know his limitations. These NBA Finals will also be fascinating to see how Wade takes on that struggle, not just against the Spurs but also against his own mind and body.
Today, think on the ways your own body has changed. Is it due to age or disuse? Challenge yourself to find your "new 100%" and try to get there everyday.
Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
― Alfred Tennyson, Idylls of the King and a Selection of Poems