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I fucking love Tom Brady. Don't come at me.

The GOAT is the enduring mascot of Middle Aged Athletes (MAAs) everywhere.

Or maybe just in New England.

Or maybe just for me.


My love for Tom Brady is not just an irrational crush or enthusiastic fandom; I'm truly inspired by him. We're the same age, arguably 15-20 years past our physical primes, yet he's out there relentlessly kicking ass and only getting better in the second half of his career, showing all of us middle aged athletes that we can, too. That I can. He inspires me to reach for my own athletic goals, by proving that "too old" is a bullshit story, that "peak performance" is not a set age, and that maybe my peak is still ahead of me, as long as I prioritize and do the work.


I'm inspired beyond athleticism, though. I often get caught up in my age, thinking it's too late for me to jump into a new career, for example, especially one that may require me to go back to school. And how about that book I want to write? Who starts their writing career in their forties? (Quite a few, it turns out) Many of us have accepted notions about what it's "too late" for us to do, like having a baby, switching careers, finding love, or getting in shape. But life is long, and opportunities abound. We just have to recognize them--much the way Brady recognizes an open receiver in an otherwise cluttered end zone.


Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't want to be married to Tom Brady or anything. We likely wouldn't even be friends in an alternate universe. As anyone who has hung out with me past midnight knows, I like a good party. I once skipped a marathon that I spent 4 months training for because I wanted to have another beer and watch the sunset with my friends instead of going home to rest up--Tom would never. Brady's moods must be epic, depending on the W or L that week; he's probably a beast to be around from September to January. He likely never indulges in chocolate peanut butter ice cream or a hazy IPA. He undoubtedly skips lots of school and family functions because of work. Our politics are certainly not aligned. Tom Brady and I are fundamentally different people, but I can still glean the motivation and inspiration from him that I need. And worship him from my living room on game day.


I'm training for a marathon again right now, after taking several years off from 26.2. And at 42 years old, I'm setting my most ambitious time goals ever, intending to shave 20-35 minutes off my PR, and maybe, maybe try to BQ (qualify for Boston), which would be a serious reach but ultimately possible, I think. If Tom Brady bring Tampa Bay up from a 7-9 2019 season to the Superbowl for the first time in 19 years (and probably win it), then surely I can dig deep within myself and run my fastest, strongest race ever. Surely I can go out for every single workout and give it everything I've got, even when life gets busy again. Brady juggles an unfathomably stressful, public career with 3 kids and a wife, as well as other family, friends, galas, philanthropy, etc. He has to keep his body in excessively good shape on top of all the normal life and career demands. He does his best work under unimaginable pressure. His focus is inhuman. He is probably inhuman.

Too many of my peers seem to have given up on their health and fitness years ago, claiming a lack of time, or profusion of life demands that keep them from exercising. Or daily stresses that justify poor choices in food and drink. But this is bullshit. It's about priorities--everyone has 30 minutes a day to move their bodies, or 1 hour a week to plan and prep for healthy meals, even if only a few per week. Unless your life is completely void of other humans depending on you in any form, it's selfish not to prioritize your own health; people need you to be at your best. Someone out there is relying on you.


We don't all have to be 10-time Superbowl quarterbacks in our 40s. We don't all have to run marathons, or do Crossfit, or drop $5,000 on a Peloton bike. But *most of us* do have the luxury to move our bodies--vigorously!-- most days, and fuel them with nutrient-rich foods.


So get out there and unleash your dormant Middle-Aged Athlete self! Or challenge yourself to push harder on your next workout. Or commit to eating healthier next month. Simply because you still can.


See you Sunday, TB.

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