My wife has a sense of humor. She proved it a couple of years ago by giving me a "funny shirt." It's a blue T shirt with a big red and yellow "M" just below the words "Mediocre Man." I have worn it a few times, always in her company, just to prove that I too have a sense of humor.
All of this cleverness aside, this shirt has given me pause over the past few days as I consider the continuing saga of Brett Favre and Lance Armstrong. Part of the reason that I don't wear my "funny shirt" is that I don't want to be reminded of the obvious. I'm forty-seven. Whatever greatness I might have once aspired too is now diminished, however slightly, by the onset of middle age.
That being said, I was feeling mired in my mediocrity on Sunday as I hobbled around on a bruised heel. I thought of Brett Favre, on the cusp of turning forty, on the horns of the dilemma: Should I choose to put myself once more in harm's way, or should I retire comfortably, and look forward to the next mountain to climb? Do I really need another football season's worth of physical punishment to prove that I am the Cal Ripken of the NFL? Will I be content to walk away from the game while I still can?
Many of the guys that could be chasing Brett this Fall are roughly half his age. The same thing could be said for Lance Armstrong. He's still got a couple years to go before he turns forty, but he does have that whole cancer thing to add a degree of difficulty. He's just a fraction of a second behind a guy who is ten years his junior. That's ten pedaling-a-bicycle-for-hundreds-of-miles-up-and-down-the-Alps years. Seven of those would be years in which Monsieur Armstrong won the Tour de France.
So what do these guys have left to prove? Well, I guess that's simple enough: They don't want to wear the shirt. Fine. Maybe the next time they're both in town they'd like to try their hand at Guitar Hero - Medium.