There are old adages about the passing of the torch, the old lion being surpassed by the young and hungry up-and-comer. These things are echoed in the animal kingdom as well as in the rat race of class and commerce.
We grow and rise, only to bow out to the next generation, who hopefully find the place a little cleaner around the edges than we did.
But what if that old lion isn’t ready to give up the hunt? I find that idea particularity fascinating, the idea of defying the expectations of age.
Politically, the wisdom of age seems to outweigh the vibrancy of youth more times than not.
President Joe Biden became the oldest man to take office at a whopping 78 years and 61 days old in 2021. His successor, the now disgraced former president Donald Trump, was 70.
For context, the median age at the inauguration of an incoming U.S. president throughout history is 55 years of age. Not exactly walker-ready, but not what we think of when we think of the bright and shiny new-wave of the future.
Here in the Great White North the statistics are strikingly similar, with the median age of a Prime Minister entering office clocking in at roughly 54 years of age. Though I suppose if you consider that our last two – and current – Prime Ministers have entered office at 46 and 43 years old respectively, and you could say that the ‘youth movement’ tends to win out over the battle tested politicians of yesteryear.
Sports is where things get fascinating. In common professions, a ladder climber likely only hits their stride when wrinkles and strands of grey hair start to set in.
In athletics, father time often sounds the death knell in one’s mid to late 30s. The body just doesn’t have the staying power to go the distance, as it were. But then there are those special athletes who defy the laws of nature.
Greatest of all time
In our recent history, we take for example one Tom Brady. Brady, the consensus greatest football player of all time, at the tender age of 43, won his record-setting seventh Super Bowl championship and fifth Super Bowl most valuable player award. He’d do this by out dueling the heir apparent to the GOAT throne, 25 year old Patrick Mahomes, on February 7th of this year in a 31-9 drubbing in sunny Tampa, Florida.
Brady now has more Super Bowl rings than any single FRANCHISE, and has set more individual records that will likely never be met or tested than anyone in league history. Not too shabby for a guy many considered past his prime in the not-so-distant-past.
So kudos to the Brady’s and Biden’s of the world, to the little guy punching the clock for decades keeping the changes of industry at bay, and for all those not content to hand over the reigns, or torch, without a fight. Cheers to all those proving that while the fountain of youth may be a figment of fiction, old dogs can still teach us young pups a trick or two.