Getting older is not easy. Sure, as the saying goes, it beats the alternative. But if you are at least 30 years old, you probably know what Im talking about.
The things you did easily 10 years ago are a bit more difficult. You move a little slower when you get out of bed when you get older. You might not be able to do some things you did at 20 or 25 or even 30 years old when you get into your 40s and 50s.
Those who can relate must respect Chipper Jones even more for what hes doing. Hes 40 years old, and yet Jones is going out there -- when hes out there -- and doing things he used to do 10 years ago.
Now, hes doing it slower than he used to, but Jones is still getting the job done. The Braves have to rest him two or three times a week, but when Jones plays hes still a pretty good baseball player.
Theres no doubt Jones body is breaking down. His knees are a mess. The trip from the on-deck circle to the batters box is a long one. When someone lays a bunt down the third-base line, Jones undoubtedly cringes knowing he has to run in and make the play.
For him to even be playing third base at 40 years old is unprecedented. We just dont see elite players at that position still play at that age. Theyve usually moved on to be a designated hitter, play first base, or have already retired.
It was obvious in spring training Jones was frustrated by his body just not working like it used to. He didnt have the range at third base he used to have, and his swing was slowing down. Thats the big reason why he went ahead and announced this year would be his last.
Its just amazing to see how relevant he still is for this team. You could make an argument that Jones saved the season. Remember when the Braves were 0-4 a few weeks ago? His home run against Houston in his first game of the year made that team smile again. A group of players that looked defeated after four lousy games had reason to be happy, as they saw the old man who plays third do something good.
And then Wednesday night, when the Braves had one of the craziest games in franchise history, he did it again. Just when you might have thought Atlanta would never beat the Phillies again, the old man limped to the plate and knocked one out of the park.
What was sad, however, was what Jones said after the game.
I wish my knee would allow me to be in there more, Jones said. I still feel like I have the skills to be able to play this game and play it well, but unfortunately at 40 my body just doesnt allow me to sometimes.
He knows he can still play -- when he can play. He can perform, as long as he can be out there. But being out there is the problem.
Imagine the frustration he must feel. Jones is going to be a Hall of Famer. He has been one of the best third basemen in the history of this sport. He played at a high level for more than 15 years. And yet, just because hes getting older, he cant do it as much anymore. He sees glimpses of his former self when he does something special like he did Wednesday, and then the next day Jones probably could barely move.
It sounds like the rest of us who are getting older, doesnt it? We still want to get out there and play a pick-up basketball game, or walk 18 holes of golf, or do yard work on the weekends. But it certainly is tougher than it used to be when we were much younger.
So lets appreciate what Jones is doing. He might be teaching us all a lesson here in getting older. Its not always fun, but you still have to get out there and take the field, no matter how you feel.
Listen to The Bill Shanks Show from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 AM in Macon and online at www.foxsports1670.com.