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The burden of aging for an athlete, and a writer.

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So several months ago ESPN’s Wright Thompson appeared as a guest on my podcast.

He’s a terrific writer, and we spoke about this and that, that and this. Lots of themes, lots of anecdotes, lots of great stories. Yet of all the words exchanged during our hour on the phone, one thing stuck with me. Actually, I’ll adjust that line ever so slightly and note that, 35 podcasts in, Wright’s take on something hit me more than anything else uttered on Two Writers Slinging Yang.

We were chatting about youth and journalism, and he said something along the lines of, “You can write all the best-sellers you want, but you’ll never again be that 24-year-old motherfucker walking into a Major League clubhouse with a Sports Illustrated credential around his neck.”

Shit, I’ve pondered that and pondered that and pondered that. A. Because it’s true. B. Because it’s really a powerful thought. Wright is, eh, right: There is something about youth and swagger and newness that can never be recaptured and duplicated. Not with money, not with fame, not with Twitter followers. The chase is an enormous part of the fun, only during the chase one often fails to realize that. Wanting it is just as enjoyable as getting it—if not more so. It’s the rub of youth. Or, as has been said a gazillion times, youth is wasted on the young.

Anyhow, I’m pretty sure Wright’s take led me to today’s Athletic column, which discusses former Kentucky basketball standout Cameron Mills, and what it is to age as an athlete. Cameron, obviously, has to do so in front of tons of people who refuse to forget what he was 20 years ago, thereby making said aging significantly more burdensome.

But it’s still aging.

It’s still complicated.

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