Getting Old Isn’t That Bad

I was just thinking that aging DOES have its benefits. Though the sports world we experience on a daily basis still attracts great interest from people of ALL ages, I DO feel sorry for those sports aficionados born within the past three decades or so. Why? Because if you were born after 1980……..

* you didn’t get to see the great Walter Payton carry the football in his prime–“Sweetness” personified
* you missed out on seeing MLB pitchers like Bob Gibson, Jim Palmer, Tom Seaver and Steve Carlton perform magic WITHOUT pitch counts
* you didn’t get to see Rick Barry and Calvin Murphy shoot free throws
* you know nothing about the intensity of one Dick Butkus
* you missed seeing Dwight Gooden dazzle hitters in his rookie year of 1984–and follow that up with a “year for the ages” in 1985
* you have no recollection of the “No-Name Defense” and the “Purple People Eaters”
* you never got to read a Dick Young sports column
* you never heard Howard Cosell and “Dandy” Don Meredith together on “Monday Night Football”
* you missed out on seeing an NL player like George Foster hit 50 HRs with NO questions asked
* you didn’t see Roberto Duran fight as a lightweight during his prime
* you don’t recall an era when most sports autographs were FREE
* you probably didn’t see Wayne Gretzky play for the Edmonton Oilers
* you weren’t able to see “Pistol” Pete Maravich dribble a basketball, shoot a basketball, or do ANYTHING with a basketball
* you didn’t see Johnny Bench catch a baseball game
* you never saw a football player like George Blanda
* you never got to see WHY Pete Rose became known as “Charlie Hustle”
* you grew up in an era when the “police blotter” was (still is!) a regular feature of the sports page
* you missed seeing the aforementioned “Pistol Pete” score 68 points vs. the Knicks and defensive whiz Walt Frazier back in ’77–BEFORE there was a three-point line
* you didn’t experience the “Miracle on Ice” in 1980
* you’ve probably paid more for a current Yankees yearbook than yours truly paid for a week’s worth of Yankee Stadium bleacher seats in the early 80’s
* a good part of your following of baseball has been in the “Steroid Era”–giving you a false sense of player accomplishments
* you haven’t seen a perfect football season–i.e. the 1972 Miami Dolphins
* you never saw guys like McEnroe and Borg play tennis in their primes–or play EACH OTHER
* you weren’t able to see a young Steve Busby pitch in the 1970’s–before an injury cut short one of the promising careers of all-time
* you missed out on a time when “Fan Appreciation Nights” had meaning
* you’ve never seen regular three-inning saves
* you didn’t get a chance to see the 1985 Chicago Bears play defense
* you didn’t see George Brett flirt with .400 in 1980
* you grew up in an era where greed was commonplace (still is!), acceptable, and EVERYWHERE
* you didn’t see Vida Blue pitch in 1971
* you didn’t see Mark “The Bird” Fidrych pitch in 1976
* you’ve become used to an era where staying up past 11:30 PM to watch an east coast game is commonplace
* the “Thrilla in Manila” has little meaning to you
* you can’t relate to why people were glued to their sets while watching “Wide World of Sports” during the 70’s
* you have no recollection of the “pine tar incident”
* you didn’t see the “Big Red Machine”
* you couldn’t enjoy nicknames like “Blue Moon”, “Catfish”, “Sparky”, or “Tug”
* you never saw Joe Namath throw a football–bad knees or NOT
* you never saw an old ABA game
* you–perhaps as a young parent–have been faced with the decision of attending a professional sporting event IN LIEU OF going on a family vacation
* you might have to Google the name “Bruce Jenner”
* you don’t recall a coherent Muhammad Ali
* you don’t know who “Wild” Bill Hagy is
* you didn’t see stars such as Julius Erving, George Gervin, George McGinnis, and Nate “Tiny” Archibald play basketball
* you missed out on “The Mad Hungarian’s” antics
* you never witnessed Ray Guy punting a football
* you’ve witnessed “shock sports journalism” to the max–and very few legitimate sports JOURNALISTS
* you weren’t privy to the speed and power of one RB named Earl Campbell
* you can’t relate to bringing $10 to a Yankee game and having the time of your life
* you never saw Pele play soccer
* you’ve attended very few–if ANY–MLB doubleheaders that WEREN’T day/night ones
* the song “We Are Family” has no sports-connection to you
* two-hour baseball games are foreign to you
* you’ve never seen a Bert Blyleven curveball

Yeah–maybe getting older isn’t that bad after all.

About the Author

Bob Lazzari

Bob Lazzari is an award-winning sports columnist for both Connecticut's Valley Times and NY Sports Day--where his "Sports Roundup" column is featured weekly. He is a member of the Connecticut Sports Writers' Alliance and host of "Monday Night Sports Talk" --a cable television show on CTV/Channel14 in Connecticut. A Fordham grad, Bob is a regular contributor to ESPN Radio's "Inside Yankee Baseball"; he can also be heard weekly every Tuesday morning on WXLM/104.7 FM in New London, CT. He has a popular blog where many of his past columns have been archived.

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