I was asked to play on an adult lacrosse team a few days ago. I hemmed and hawed and decided that I should not play because, wait for it… I was too old. Yes, I admit. I am too old to play organized and somewhat competitive lacrosse. I still run and lift weights on occasion. I play tennis and golf. Well, golf doesn’t really count. I ride in a cart and swing a metal club at a ball but, lacrosse that’s a different animal. There is a lot of running, especially if you play midfield. Not just “nine minute mile” running, but sprinting. And there is someone, usually bigger than you, trying to hack at your arms with a six foot defensive stick. I will tell you, it hurts. Bruises don’t go away as quickly when you are my age. Think of a ripe banana – you drop it, there’s going to be a mark.
As you age, your eyes begin to fail, then your legs and then your willingness to sell out. I can’t play sports at night, I can’t see the ball. I need glasses to drive – even though I don’t always wear them. And I get these nagging running injuries; plantar fasciitis, shin splints, sore muscles. And there were days when you felt as though you could run through a brick wall for a ground ball. Now, I’m running for the couch or a chaise lounge, or the Aleve after a long run. Nobody ever said that lacrosse was the sport of a lifetime. Tennis, swimming and golf yes… but lacrosse, it’s a game for the young.
Experience develops with age, too. Lacrosse equipment can get expensive. And these days, who has extra cash to outfit a 51 year old to play lacrosse. To be honest, I would have to outfit myself with all new equipment. I mean, if I was to play, could you imagine this old man running out on the field with a bucket helmet, the 70’s era toilet seat shoulder pads and an STX SAM stick? I would look like, well, an old man. So call me frugal… or wise.
I retired from softball in 1994 and I think that the lacrosse retirement happened a few years later, although I don’t remember anyone coming to the press conference. Brett Favre I am not, and I don‘t think that I’ll be playing organized lax anytime soon. But, I’m always up for throwing the ball around. And shooting – always shooting.
Lacrosse is a great game to play – for the young. For those of us who are young at heart; there is coaching and officiating and watching the NCAA tournament on cable. And for those adventurous old guys who make the pilgrimage to Vail, Colorado for the Grand Masters tournament, I salute you – from the chaise lounge with a cool beverage in hand.