Is it neat to compete?

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A video clip was sent to me recently through the network of old classmates of mine from secondary school which showed a father and his young adult son on a basketball court, aiming to compete with each other in sending the ball through the net. The father went for a throw that went widely off the mark. His son thought he was chickening out from competing, but then he suddenly realised there was something wrong when the father looked at him in a daze, frozen and unable to enunciate words clearly.

Eventually the father regained his normal state and wanted to continue the exercise, but the son was alarmed and made him sit down, so he could call for help. It turned out that the father had gone through a mini stroke.

Looking around me and also listening to my own body, I have come to accept that there is a delicate balance that needs to be maintained with regard to exertion of energy as one grows older. A person can look youthful on the surface, but there is no doubt that we all have our limits, which we would be wise to assess and be aware of.

For those of us who have invested time and energy in vocal training, there is an odd situation where we are probably more capable of using some muscles in performance than young, virile or nubile colleagues, but we still need to be mindful of reaching the breaking point in stretching ourselves.

Perhaps we all need to reflect on the purpose of doing exercises in the first place. It’s great to keep up levels of suppleness and physical flexibility for as long as possible, within reason, of course.