It is a sad time in hockey. The legend, Jaromir Jagr, has left the NHL and is headed home to his native Czech Republic to continue his career, no longer able to compete at the highest level. He gave it everything he had, and he leaves the league with more career points than any other player but Gretzky.
It’s also a sad time for me, and for others like me. You see, I am old, and Jagr was the last player of my vintage in the NHL. The end of his career is a sure sign that I am over the hill, and on a fast-track to Velcro shoes and evenings playing checkers.
Or is it?
Yes, Jagr is past his peak, but the fact that he has been able to play so long should serve as an inspiration — and also a sign that my best days might not be behind me.
To illustrate, I have created what I call the Jaromir Jagr curve. It represents theoretical peak physical ability at any given point of life. Not everybody’s curve will be the same, but regardless of who you are, if you work hard and keep yourself in the best possible shape, just like Jaromir did, your maximum performance will be capped by the curve.
I have not kept myself in peak physical condition. No, it’s true. I quit the soccer team in high school because it involved lots of running. I spent much of my 20s watching soap operas and drinking large quantities of booze. I’m not sure what I did in my 30s. Yeah, I went to the gym occasionally, but I never ran more than 2 miles in one shot until just 5 years ago.
Because of my lack of motivation up to this point in my life, I am nowhere near the upper bound of my Jagr curve. This sadly means that I never reached my peak potential, but it happily means that I still have lots of room for improvement. Barring any medical issues, if I apply myself I figure I could almost double my current level of fitness.
That’s not going to happen, of course, but it’s nice to know it’s theoretically possible. It is also possible that I could maintain my current level of fitness (which is getting better) for another 10-15 years.
Think about this as you get older and further past your supposed prime. Unless you have been keeping yourself in Jaromir Jagr-like condition — and I guarantee you have not — there always a possibility that you can run faster, jump higher and achieve greater athletic heights.
How? Be more like Jaromir!