Wednesday, February 27, 2019

What you can do at any age...

Based on my recent birthday, I can no longer tell myself I'm in my early 40s. I have to own up to the reality that I am officially "middle aged" Should I be preparing for an impending crisis? Please advise. I know I'm supposed to report that age is just a number. Yes and no, right? However, with age comes wisdom and as I age, I grow in wonder and in humility. Young or old, middle age or not—every year is a gift. Every stage in life affords its unique blessings and burdens. Some lives are long, and some are too short. Each one has meaning. 
Although I dreaded turning 40, since that time I have made an effort to connect my new age with a number in the world of Sports and Spirituality. As a lifelong Niners fan, turning 42 was made a little easier with Ronnie Lott on my side. Hitting 44 wasn't so bad as it connected me to one of baseball all time greats: Willie "Stretch McCovey." When a friend gave me Pop! Movies #699 Rudy, I could hardly believe what I saw: Rudy wore 45 for the Fightin' Irish. Turning 45 served as an invitation to revisit Rudy's story and what he did. 
As written on IMDB, "Rudy has always been told that he was too small to play college football. But he is determined to overcome the odds and fulfill his dream of playing for Notre Dame." That descriptor reminded me that we are all called to live with passion and purpose. Every one of us has dreams. Don't let the world stand in your way. People love Rudy because he didn't let that happen. Matthew Kelly's latest book "The Biggest Lie in the History of Christianity" offers a similar message. I was so encouraged by his words, I shared them with my students. He writes
It is in the classroom of silence (prayer) that God illuminates our hearts and minds so that we can see clearly and answer passionately four questions: Who am I? What am I here for? What matters most? What matters least? With these answers and clarity, God sends us out into the world to live with passion and purpose.

So, it is time to stop making excuses....Most people really only have two excuses. They spend the first half of their lives telling themselves, "I am too young for those things," and the second half of their lives telling themselves, "I am too old for those things." And life passes by in the blink of an eye. Don't let these be your excuses. Whatever your age, I am absolutely convinced now is your time. Now is our time.
Dimitrion Yordanidis was 98 when he ran a marathon
Kelly concludes by listing a range of accomplishments great people in human history, starting with Amadeus Mozart. He writes "Mozart was eight years old when he wrote his first symphony." The list concludes with "Ichijirou Araya was 100 years old when he climbed Mount Fuji."

I took his list and kept those that feature a person from Sports or Spirituality. I added a few. I hope you can name others. The purpose of this list is NOT to make anyone feel as though they must accomplish something by a given age. Quite the contrary. The range in ages on the list ought to serve as a reminder that any number need not be considered too old or too young. I hope you will agree. Enjoy

  • Michelle Wie became the fourth female, and the youngest ever at 14, to play in an event on the PGA Tour at the Sony Open in Hawaii.
  • Joan of Arc was 18 when she led the French army to victory. (MK)
  • Joe DiMaggio was 26 when he hit safely in 56 consecutive games. (MK)
  • Jesus Christ was 33 when He took up his cross and died for our sins. Our salvation is complete through His sacrifice.
  • Pat Summitt was 34 when she coached the Tennessee Volunteers women's basketball team to their first of 8 NCAA Championships. Her record of 1,098-208 (.841) may have been cut short by her death in 2016 at the age of 64.
  • Roger Federer was 36 when he won the Australian Open—his 20th Grand Slam title. (MK)
  • Mother Teresa was 40 years old when she founded the Missionaries of Charity. (MK)
  • Tom Brady was 41 when he won Super Bowl LIII. He is not only the record holder for most Super Bowl wins by a player, but the oldest one to do so.
  • Jack Nicklaus was 46 when he shot 65 in the final round and 30 on the back nine to win the Masters in 1986.
  • Michelangelo was 72 when he designed the dome of St Peter's Basilica in Rome. (MK)
  • Dimitrion Yordanidis was 98 when he ran a marathon in Athens, Greece.

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