Friday, April 25, 2014

Professional sport is often referred to as a young man's game.

It is no place for the oldies, only the younguns. What with the plethora of bumps and bruises only the unwise see this as a place to cruise. For youth abound. If one falls by the wayside another will pop up with all the hurried indiscretion befitting a clan of piranhas.

These youthful Adonis's adorning the arenas of the NBA, sprouting the tentacles of the ambitious, never spy the pitfalls. There is no glass ceiling for this famished armada of glory seekers. Not for them to consider that the sky may fall.

Over thirty - You need not apply, they can do without you. Time for those haggard old bodies to partake in the delights of Satan's retirement village. It's a young man's game where speed mocks, strength imposes and experience is held up to an abundance of escalating derision.

Such is the exuberance of today's youth.

They do not have respect for old fogeys like Tim Duncan. He is thirty-seven. He's old. Somebody forgot to tell the big man that he doesn't belong. To be so bold as to contemplate the possibility of extended success with such old bones; what was he thinking.

No one is sold. Sure he is the proud owner of four championship rings. But he's thirty-seven - He's old. The last of those came his way in 2007. The time has come for this 211cm behemoth to ride off into the sunset. The power forward can no longer dominate the paint. He's thirty-seven. He's running on cold.

Problem is, those insolent youngsters didn't get the message through to Duncan. It seems he really does believe he is still good enough to teach the upstarts a thing or two.

Thing is, he is. And he knows it, too.

Too old - Ha.

Here we have the ultimate professional, the calmest of the calm with a demeanour that inhabits the realms of the serene. By no means can he be baited, for it is his fate to sate the weight of patience, handing many a naive foe a loser's lesson on a plate.

The big man has been at this for many a year, now. 1997, rookie of the year - A meteoric rise soaring to join awaiting siblings, a throng of stars among their intake. Some shone brighter, never a dull moment, a sheen to see afar. Perched aloft the melting pot of the heavens this is one of the grandest of stars.

A young buck back then. Take a look at the stats, close on forty minutes per game. For so long, the mightiest of standards. Eighteen years of sterling service to the San Antonio Spurs. A one team man, such loyalty. The likes of which is not seen in the modern day where money is the almighty.

Those forty minutes, though, have dwindled as the years weighed down upon him. Down to thirty now, he is still a starter, such is his importance.

The rebounds, the assists, the steals, the blocks per game, they may have tapered off as the years passed. Such is life. But that experience comes to bear come time for the playoffs.

That is the time there is more to winning than just stats. Sure, rebounds and assists and steals and blocks, they're all important. But this is Finals, where the all important mind matters. Where learning to control one's nerves is paramount. Where self-belief is vital: Knowing one can compete at a heightened level, having done so for eighteen years.

And that is where Duncan has it over all those supposed young guns. All those years honing his craft, he knows what the young will one day hopefully garner. The nuances of the game, his is the flame that rises to the heights that put the young to shame.

Those heights, that experience, the worldliness, call it what you will, it is him against the youth of today.

For this is one clan of piranhas that have remained stripped of sustenance.

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