Who you calling old, sonny ?

by Joseph Birmingham

A quick note regarding multi sport athlete and former Eagles running back Hershel Walker. 

He recently embarked on a new career, this time trying something decidedly new.  MMA fighting. 

He won his first bout, and now fans, when polled, think his next logical opponent would be retired baseball star, Jose Canseco.  Walker, 47, college football’s 1982 Heisman Trophy winner and a fifth-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, floored his first opponent, Greg Nagy in each round, but was unable to force his first foe into submission.  The surprising match up on January 30th shows that Walker has not given up on his training or the world of athletics.

Herschel has generally accomplished great things at everything he tries to do, from playing multiple sports in college and the pros, to a stint as a hopeful Olympic bobsledder, to mixed martial arts fighting.  Nagy landed just seven punches as he faced a man old enough to be his father while Herschel landed 73%  (77 of 106) strikes on his nearly helpless 21 year old opponent.

“This is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” Walker told Fox Sports in an interview  “(After practice) every muscle in your body is sore.”

Another example of 40 being the new 30.  With Brett Favre, Bernard Hopkins, Randy Couture, Dara Torres, and a host of others over 40 and still competing actively today and routinely beating contenders half their age, I predict Herschel Walker will enjoy a good run in the MMA where training, conditioning and flexiblity may outweigh brute strength and energy.

There have been standout athletes that played or performed into their 40′s and 50′s in the past, like Gordie Howe who played every game of a season when he was 52 and Jerry Rice who was probably the third best receiver in the league at age 44, but I have to admit that in the past ten years, there have been more instances of 40+ year olds performing at an extremely high level.  And, since I just turned 40, this gives me a warm fuzzy feeling.  Step aside middle age, I am not done yet !!

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2 Responses to “Who you calling old, sonny ?”

  1. Brandon on February 23rd, 2010 12:31 am

    If these two fight, Herschel will destroy Jose. He has kept himself in great shape and would be so much more sound in a cage than Canseco. It wouldn’t last long.

  2. Eric Schwartz on February 23rd, 2010 10:44 am

    I watched Walker’s first fight and he impressed me. At his age he will not become an MMA star, but he will hold his own against mid-carders.It’s amazing the kind of shape he keeps himself in.

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