There’s a massive article about Derek Jeter in The New York Times Magazine this week that isn’t really about Derek Jeter at all.
It’s really a story about ageing athletes, how they fade, and the various ways they try to hide.
In the same way that superstars don’t do anything like normal human beings, even their ageing process is skewed and heightened, and (most importantly) done in public.
Jeter, who turns 37 on Sunday, is still in better physical shape than 98% of the planet, but that’s not quite good enough to play starting shortstop for a Major League Baseball team.
His skills aren’t declining – his eyes, his mind, and his reflexes are. Subtly, almost imperceptibly, but that tiny decline is enough to cost you about 100 points in slugging percentage.
Jeter and the Yankees were both cagey about his decline this season and the team refused to cooperate with the author of this story, because none of them want to think about it. He’s not dying, of course, but to Yankee fans it sort of feels like it. Growing old in front of 40,000 fans a night can’t be a lot of fun.
It’s a long, but good piece, by writer Michael Sokolove and if you have time you should read the whole thing.
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