How do they keep doing it?
Favre had another gem of a game in another Monday night game, one week shy of his 40th birthday and although he may never say it or admit to it, this may have been the most satisfying win in his 18 year career. It would be weird for him to not to have felt extra motivated to win this game, he is after all human. Every type of pass that Favre could throw, he did and completed them with extreme precision.
It’s amazing how many times Favre has done this, but now it’s time to think about the fact that he may actually lead his team to the playoffs and dare I say the Superbowl. Stranger things have happened. So many athletes who have aged have reached the highest level and Favre may be one of them.
Last year Bernard Hopkins out boxed and out punched Kelly Pavlik over 12 one sided rounds. It was astonishing to believe that a man who was 43 at the time could dominate a young power puncher like Pavlik 17 years his junior.
George Foreman reached the top of the heavyweight division years after his best days with a 10th round knockout over Michael Moorer. The 45 year old Foreman delivered one punch which changed his career forever.
Michael Jordan doesn’t need any explanation. Even in his final year in the NBA with the Wizards, the 40 year old managed to put up decent numbers. Even now, it’s not like Steve Nash is young… he’s 35, and he can still dish it out and make highlight real plays.
Gretzky continued to put up good numbers even till his last season. He was 38 during his last season and still managed to tally 62 points in 70 games. Not bad at all for a 38 year old.
So what is it about age? Some guys can still do it and deliver astonishing performances over the age of 35 while some become a fraction of what they used to be at 30. Ken Griffey Jr. is 39 as well, and most believe he has just played his last game in the MLB. A report on The Score echoed the obvious statement, what if Ken didn’t have those injuries that have plagued his career?
We can name a whole list of players from all sports who succeeded in their 20’s before failing miserably whether it was because of injuries or personal issues or simply because they weren’t that good anymore. Boxers have a knack for this. While Hopkins and Foreman succeeded, guys like Fernando Vargas who became the youngest junior middleweight champion ever at 21, was a shadow (and thick shadow with all his excess weight) of himself by 29. Eric Hinkse had a great start to his MLB career but hasn’t done much since his rookie campaign. He was in fact the MLB rookie of the year
Is it natural to be so great when you’re so old? Is it a gift? I think it’s a combo of discipline, skill and most of all luck. It’s destiny. Some are meant to turn back the time and make 39 the new 29, while some go from 20, going on 40. You’re not as young as you feel, but as young as you play. In that case, Favre will be turning 30 instead of 40. With age comes wisdom and I may not that much wisdom because of my age, but I can see the impact wisdom has on a successful and determined athlete.