Defying Father Time

Tariq Engineer

Sport has always been a young man’s world, and despite the advances made in modern medicine and training methods, it remains a young man’s world. The Stockons, Malones, and Jordans of the world are the exceptions that prove the rule. So when the “not-so-young” show that there is life in old legs, it’s news. Last weekend was a good weekend for the old guys.

In Houston, Andre Agassi outlasted Andy Roddick to win the U.S. Clay Court Championships.

The victory gave him his 58th career title and capped a perfect week for Agassi, who supplanted Australian Lleyton Hewitt as number one in the world after winning his semi-final against Austrian Jurgen Melzer.

Agassi’s semi-final triumph made him the oldest man to hold the number one ranking, supplanting Jimmy Connors. Connors was First in the world when he was 30 years and 10 months old. Agassi turned 33 this past Tuesday.

Also in Texas, 43-year-old Fred Couples won the Houston Open. The win gave Couples his first title since 1998. Couples was so emotional, he shed tears on the 18th green after closing out his round with a birdie for a four-shot victory.

Couples had held at least a share of the lead all four rounds and for the most part resembled the golfer who dominated the early 1990s.

Agassi’s rededication to fitness and commitment to tennis over the past several years is well known. Couples has talked about re-focusing on his golf over the last few months and really making and effort to raise the level of his game to the point where he can compete again. The results speak for themselves.

Why do these guys push themselves? Because the older you get, the more you realize your opportunities are limited and if you don’t take them now, they will be gone forever.

Couples broke down and cried because in that moment he knew the hard work and the effort and the time had all been worth it.

Every time Agassi wins a big event (a grand slam) he has mentioned how you never know when the last time will be, and so you work and you work and then you savor the moment.

I shall savor the weekend when two old warriors proved there is life beyond the flush of youth.