By Bruce Overstreet
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” — George Bernard Shaw
I may be the worst multi-sport competitor in the United States right now. Seriously. The worst. But I’m going to keep playing!
Just to give you a little sense of how this is not simply some self-deprecating pandering, let me highlight some lowlights over the past two years of participation/”competition” that I have engaged in:
- I limped through the 2012-13 Cascade Orienteering season, finishing dead last out of all competitors who did even four events in the seven-event series while I did five of the events.
- I struggled in cross-country racing as well, finishing 61st out of 63 competitors at the Masters Pacific Northwest Cross Country Championships in Seattle.
- My 60-meter indoor time for 2013 season ranks me 80th out of 86 guys my age who are bold or brazen enough to get out there and foolishly think that the sprint gods still want guys my age hurtling their bodies down a short distance at a relatively rapid pace that makes them vulnerable to Achilles strains and hamstring pulls.
- I couldn’t finish the 30K Nordic ski race sponsored by the Kongsberger Ski Club out of Seattle, after getting lapped multiple times by virtually everyone after only half of the race was completed.
- My buddy and I got smashed in the 2013 summer beach volleyball tournament in Alki. And my decathlon score was the third worst of any age classification in the Masters’ 2012 national rankings.
My goal, quite simply, is to keep moving and improving. I want to “stay in the game” and refine my skills and, hopefully, show gradual gains over the next couple of years. I also want to experience the rush of doing activities outside of my comfort zone, activities that will push my physical, mental, and emotional limits. I don’t mind if my ego gets humbled!
On the plus side, I already know I am more limber and lethal than I was in the summer of 2012. Heck, I have been steady in being active during the past year. I also know that I am a year older so I need to be more diligent about everything I do. I need to eat better. I need to rest more. I need to listen to my body a little more closely so that I minimize injuries. Call it my Body Preservation Plan, but I need to be responsive to its needs. I simply need to be wiser about what I do. And that’s what I plan on sharing in this blog.
When my knees start to “buckle” as I attempt to make a cut on the basketball court, even against guys my own age, I need to consult Ben and Mike at Everett Sports Therapy and have them loosen my IT band. If my hammies are exceptionally tight, I need to go out to Run26 and have a massage therapy session. This is about “prehabilitation,” staying ahead of any projected injury, if you will. To have a growth mindset at 50-plus, one needs to be more responsive, more resourceful, and more realistic.
Sure, I can continue to push the limits with such activities as ultimate Frisbee down in Rainier Valley with one of the best masters’ teams in the nation, Ironman 70.3 in Lake Stevens, pickleball in Edmonds, and cyclocrossing in Arlington, but I need to show restraint. I need to know when to say when. And that is tough on the ego, especially on an ego that is starting to see his peers who aren’t playing and who are growing old.
But that’s what this blog is all about —- the average, everyday middle-aged guy pushing the physical, mental, and emotional limits while still maintaining some self-dignity, if that’s even a possibility. I know I will grow older, but I definitely want to keep playing!