When you’re a young person, you can kinda do anything physically. You may not do it well, of course, but you can try almost any given activity and not really worry too much about killing yourself. Go skiing for the first time? Your hamstrings and calfs may scream the next day, but you’re gonna be fine. Take hacks in a batting cage? You might be a little stiff. Play some ultimate frisbee? You may be out of breath quickly, but it’s not like your body is going to explode.
Once you reach a certain age, however, — and the age varies, but it’s someplace north of 35 or so — you get a lot more fragile. Your body really doesn’t want to do unusual things. Sure, if you keep it in shape you can still do active things at a high level — a runner can run with little problem, a biker can bike, a weightlifter can lift — but if you do something which isn’t a usual, trained-for activity, your body tends to balk. For example, I run on a treadmill a lot and it doesn’t bother me much, but if I go lift weights or — heaven forbid — play baseball these days, there are is a non-trivial chance I’m gonna want to die the next day.
A couple of decades ago, Terry Francona was among a small, elite handful of people on the planet who played baseball at its highest levels. Now he’s 55, however, and age remains undefeated. From the Plain Dealer:
Francona served as a baserunner during bunt drills Sunday morning. When he met with reporters later in the day, he was sore.
“I stood out there (at second base) for an hour and I’m hurting,” said Francona, who lost 20 pounds over the winter. “Isn’t that a shame?”
Francona, with two artificial knees, has had surgery of his knees at least 19 times.
“I came up with the bunt plays and I wanted to make sure we ran through them like I wanted,” said Francona. “But I think I’ll let somebody else be the runner from now on.”
There’s a lot to unpack there, but the biggest takeaways are (1) holy crap, 19 knee surgeries?!; and (2) despite the soreness, kudos to Francona for losing 20 pounds and thus being in the BSOHRML (“Best Shape of His Recent Managerial Life”).