Last night's performance by Shaq in the All-Star Game -- from his pre-game dance routine (with those freaky Jabbawockeez) to his MVP performance (in 11 minutes!) -- was surreal because it felt like his Last Hurrah. That leads today's SN column.
What makes it even stranger for me is that as of today -- at least for another two weeks -- he and I are the same age. (My previous gold standard for life-comparisons was Chris Webber, who was born two weeks apart from me. Yeah: Our freshman years of college were EXACTLY the same.)
As both Shaq and C-Webb might agree, 36 is a cachet-less age -- as I posted on my Facebook update today, "too young to be a phenom, too old for gravitas."
I guess in sports, where athlete careers wind down at (or are over by) age 36, that doesn't apply. ("Phenom," however, still applies for coaching jobs -- see Mike Tomlin or Josh McDaniels or Dan Mullen -- or front-office jobs -- see Theo Epstein or Andrew Friedman.)
Don't quite think it applies to folks who fancy themselves as sports pundits. Where Shaq is near the end (and C-Webb is past the end and into his new life as a TV analyst), I'd qualify myself as firmly in "mid-life." (No, not "mid-life crisis," but thanks.)
Last year, I celebrated the end of my relevance as part of the coveted "male 18-to-34-year-old" demographic. This year, I'm thrilled -- as always! -- to be around to celebrate... but for the first time, I spy that "40" hanging out there in the not-so-distant future.
What's the chance I can start a new "36 is the new 26" trend?
Enjoy your day off, if you're taking one. If you're working -- well, enjoy that, too.
More you'll find in today's column:
*A NASCAR non-fan's take on yesterday's debacle.
*NBA ASW round-up
*BC rules! So does Blake Griffin!
*Will Jeter support A-Rod tomorrow?
*Oil Can Boyd, the Wii Fit at Spring Training and More