My grandmother lived to be 107 years old. Using that as a baseline, I have years before I reach mid-life. Or not. Average life expectancy for a white female is 80.8, so it’s just as likely that I’m already sliding down the dark side of the age bell curve. None of us know until we get there.

I don’t feel old. I can still ride a century or a run an eight-minute mile (that is, provided the left hip flexor that’s been bothering me doesn’t flare up and that right hamstring behaves itself).  Slowly but inevitably, bodies do break down. Age has been on my mind since the Indians designated veterans Derek Lowe and Johnny Damon for assignment last week.  They’ve both been relegated to “no longer needed” category although they’re both younger than I am.

I’ll admit to taking my share of pot shots at Damon this season (and perhaps a few at Lowe). It’s easy to do when you’re watching another frustrating loss by the team that’s toyed with your emotions since you were a child. Damon and Lowe each only spent less than a season with the Indians, yet I feel bad that they’re gone. Those of us on the plus side of forty used to joke about loving Jamie Moyer or Omar Vizquel, Randy Johnson or Tim Wakefield because they were the only players older than we were.  It makes you feel less old if there’s still someone older than you are in the majors. Vizquel is the only one still playing from that list. Damon and Lowe are both younger any of those guys, but they seemed older to me, perhaps because they’ve had such long careers. Lowe has been around for 15 seasons; Damon for 17 seasons. It just felt as though they’d been around forever.

For ballplayers, there will always, always, always be a younger, stronger player waiting for your job. It comes with the territory. And sometime, when you least expect it, the things you used to do so easily will no longer be easy.  You’ll run a little slower or lose some velocity on your throws. So while Damon and Lowe weren’t producing for the team, I’m sad that they’re gone.  This is likely the end of

To paraphrase an old (dearly departed) friend: “Getting older stinks, but it beats the hell out of the alternative.” I’m not entirely clear on what the alternative entails, but given what I know, he was right. I’d like to have some brilliant insight on aging, but I don’t. This is what I know: If you’re lucky, you will grow older. If you’re unlucky, you won’t. And if you’re really unlucky, you won’t grow older, you’ll just get old.

Let’s be lucky.

 

5 Comments

  • Peter says:

    They have been extraordinarily lucky to have played this great game at such an elevated level. Few have the opportunity and fewer have the skill.

  • Drew says:

    That was somewhat surprisingly morbid. I know the Indians season is over, but do we have to liken it to the end of human life? This is sports and while for some, it is a very important part of their lives, but it is just a game/hobby. I don’t know if you ever watched the HBO series, “The Tudors” but this entry reminds me much of the last episode during which Henry is one his death bed and becomes all philosophical.

  • Susan Petrone says:

    Peter, agreed. They’re fortunate to have been here.

    Sorry, Drew. Guess I’m feeling old lately. Don’t know why. The sun is shining, I’m on vacation, and life is lovely. A nine-game losing streak puts me in a somewhat surprisingly morbid mood. It is just a game, but I also remember that, for the players, this is a job. I’ve been laid off (twice) and it does a number on one’s psyche. I can’t help but feel bad for them. Haven’t watched The Tudors, but only because we don’t have HBO. I’ll have to catch it on Netflix.

  • SeattleStu says:

    nope, no quit in this team…i hope the 3,000 that went to the game tonight have left in protest already….

  • Mary Jo says:

    Damon and Lowe might have lost their edge due to age but at least they once HAD an edge. What about all of our younger players who have never had the kind of seasons those two did? Aging creates diminishing skills only if you had skills to begin with. ;-)

    I have to admit I felt much better at 49 than I did at 40. Then we moved to MA and I don’t know if it’s been the last 12 years that have aged me greatly or the location. I know I never kept up the healthy routines after the move and depression eating can be a killer on the waistline! Moving back home in the next year or so and then I’ll see if I can turn back the clock. Moral of the story? As you age NEVER let up keeping fit!!!

    Finally, my Mom had her own version of your friends: Getting old isn’t so bad when you consider the alternative. Our elders were very wise.

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