I’m getting old. No, my hearing isn’t fading, my sight isn’t any worse than normal and my bones don’t creak but I’m aging. I know this because my sports heroes are all in their twilight years. It hurts me to watch Kevin Garnett and Allen Iverson as they slip out of their respective primes and into the realm of “remember when”.
Remember when Kevin Garnett was good for 20 and 10 every night? Remember when Allen Iverson was the quickest dude in the NBA?
I remember the first time I watched Kevin Garnett play. I remember watching him take the Minnesota Timberwolves to the playoffs year after year. With every game, my happiness and sadness became more and more dependent on the team’s successes and failures, a connection that became even more intense when the playoffs rolled around. Every time the Wolves lost, the bottom sank out of my world. But there was always next year.
And my sadness was assuaged by Kevin Garnett’s infinite hope and optimism, washed away by his passion for the game. Maybe it seems silly to some, but I felt every single win and loss and every game taught me an important lesson.
Maybe Allen Iverson didn’t play point guard the way he was supposed to but that is what made him a special player. In the case of Kevin Garnett, before he arrived, 7-footers weren’t supposed to shoot jumpers so easily. But that is what made him special.
I wish that my generation would take this lesson from the stars we watched rise in the NBA. That there is more to being than fitting neatly into a box, draw on the past, yes, but push the boundaries.
My only hope is that when I’m entering my twilight years, I can say that I faced my wins and losses with the type of passion and resilience that Kevin Garnett and Allen Iverson did. And when my life becomes a series of “remember whens” I want them to be special.