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Athletes get older, I’m getting older too

posted by Tim Carmody   Jan 27, 2017

I’m now about the same age as the oldest competitive pro athletes. Correspondingly, I think this year’s Australian Open finals slate is awesome. I don’t know if I’ll be able to stay awake long enough this weekend to watch the matches live, but I’m excited all the same.

  • Serena Williams (2) vs. Venus Williams (13), Saturday 3:30 AM ET
  • Rafael Nadal (9) vs. Roger Federer (17), Sunday 3:30 AM ET

Sports are also great because commentators talk about athletes in their mid-thirties like they’re historical landmarks in need of restoration and repair. All four of these finalists are born-in-the-80s millennials; nobody talks about them like they talk about other millennials. Maybe because they already came for our jobs with their boundless talent and energy twenty years ago when they were still teenagers, I don’t know. Rafa’s the youngest of them at 30 and looks the oldest. Maybe because the Williams sisters and Federer are actual engineered superhumans. Again, I don’t know. All I know is that Nadal looks like Deathlok now. A sexy, sexy Deathlok.

nadal past, present, future.png

Again, this comforts me, because I feel like Deathlok too. A less conventionally sexy Deathlok, but a cybernetic monstrosity of meat and metal all the same.

The old man bond makes me like athletes I hated. I never liked Vince Carter or Paul Pierce when they were young. Now that they’re two of the only NBA players who are older than me, I hope they never leave.

Vince, Paul, and Dirk Nowitzki are the only players still around from the 1998 NBA draft class. (Tyronn Lue is still around too, but he’s a head coach.) This is Vince talking about Dirk:

He’s a professional scorer. I say this about myself, too, and you could probably say it about Paul as well: When you see him walk into the arena before a game, you could probably say there’s no way in hell that those guys are playing tonight. Then Dirk will come in and drop 35. Regardless of how he feels before the game, once the big lights are on and you come on the court, he knows how to get it done, plain and simple.

When Dirk Nowitzki was drafted in 1998, Ross Perot owned Dallas’s team. I like having guys around who can drop 35 and knew Ross Perot. I think we need that in our lives. For just a little longer.

Update: Serena beat Venus in two tough sets, winning her 23rd Grand Slam championship, a record in the open era and just one behind Margaret Court for most all-time. And Federer beat Nadal in five sets of amazing tennis from both men, improbably beating his way back, backhand after brilliant backhand, after being down three games to one in the final set. The two best tennis players of our time (maybe of all time), each beating their toughest opponents. Just a perfect pair of finals.