The news earlier this week that Tom Brady might play for another six or seven years, until he is forty-seven or so, got me thinking. Mittyesque dreams of athletic stardom are finally slipping away for me. It is basically impossible now.
Right now there is no one my age, forty-seven, in any major professional team sport in the U.S. And historically, the late forties is when the very last of the superhuman athletes retire: George Blanda stopped at forty-eight, Martina Navratilova stopped at forty-nine.
Squash? In singles, I think it is too late. Hashim Khan won the last of his seven British Opens at the age of forty-two; that is the all-time mark for a major pro squash tournament victory that will probably never be broken. In America, the oldest players to ever win the National Singles have been forty-six years-old and it all happened a long, long time ago: Timmy Roberts (1924) and Eleo Sears (1928).
The only glimmer of hope left is doubles. Twice—Joe Hahn in 1955 and Victor Elmaleh in 1969—we’ve had forty-nine year-olds capture the men’s National Doubles and in 1978 Jane Austin Stauffer won her last women’s National Doubles title at the age of fifty.
So it is time to get back out there in the infinitely greater game.