February 28, 2011 by welshcyclist
Ran away to Benidorm for a week to forget about the inescapable fact that I hit my 60th year on the 15th of this month. Never liked birthdays, but 60? I should be grateful that I’ve got this far, and touch wood, to my knowledge I’m in good health, well enough to ride my Subway, but 60? Where have all those years gone? Like everyone else says I don’t feel any different, in my mind at least, than I did 40 years ago.
Put my application in at the post office today for my bus pass, so three weeks from now I will be able to travel free on buses throughout Wales, for the rest of my natural, unless the cutbacks/crunch take that priviledge away. Other reminders of my entry to a new decade have been arriving in the post, about retirement planning, and more sobering, a bowel screening kit, to remind me of my mortality, from the NHS. I haven’t got my head around being 60 yet, let alone the fact that my sixth decade means I could be more suseptible to health problems.
The truth is being 59 never prepared me for being just one more year older, i.e., 60. Sounds ridiculous I know, but 60?
I watched a programme about the great Gareth Edwards, probably the one of the best rugby players the world has ever seen, he’s 63 now. Like him I was lucky, in that when I was growing up, going to school etc., we attained a more natural fitness that youngsters today are denied. We walked to school in the morning, back home for lunch, back again for afternoon lessons and home once more in the evening. We all played touch rugby, soccer and cricket in the playgrounds, parks and streets at every opportunity. Then when we went to grammar, or secondary school we progressed to training for rugby and soccer twice a week, playing on Saturdays, in some cases morning and afternoon. We were introduced to gymnastics, athletics and circuit training and so on.
That all produced by the end of the 60’s and beginning of the 70’s a crop of Welsh rugby players, some of whom were the best the world will ever see. Sadly, most of our current rugby players are created in the gym, they are not rounded or honed in the fashion of their forebears. Until we go back to the old values, a small nation like Wales will struggle to compete with the best. Xboxes, fear to let youngsters loose on the streets, the loss of competitive sport from our schools, and discipline has cost the new generations the fantastic experience of sports and the dream to be a Gareth Edwards, Gerald Davies, J.J or J.P.R, Barry John, Phil Bennett, Mervyn Davies………
Though the legends, listed above arrived on the scene at roughly the same time, Wales had a larder full ready to compete, with a passion to play for Wales.
At 60, I am fortunate, ‘cos as Max Boyce says ” I was there”.
But still……. 60?
Still, “Irish scientists have discovered that birthdays are good for you, the more you have the longer you live.” And that my reader is the good news.