There is a fine line on when a lawyer should pass the torch to the next generation. It is true not only in law, but in virtually every walk of life, especially sports.

Bobby Jones once famously said:

I believe all of sports reveal character, but especially individual sports.

Did you get a chance to watch the US Open Tennis Finals on Saturday and Sunday? On Sunday, in five sets over five hours, 33-year old Rafael Nadal won his 19th major tournament defeating 23-year-old Daniil Medvedev. I like this article: Rafael Nadal Shows Why the Young Guard Will Have to Wait.

Like the match on Sunday, the match on Saturday was a match for the ages,  pitting a 19-year old Canadian, Bianca Andreescu, against Serena Williams. the all-time greatest women’s tennis star seeking to match Margaret Court’s record of 24 major singles titles.

Andreescu became the first Canadian to win a major tennis tournament, the first person born after 2000 to win the US Open, and the first person not even born when Serena won her first US Open. In the second set, Andreescu was up 5-1 and serving at match point. Serena won that point and went on to win the next four games.

The crowd went wild. The noise was so deafening that Andreescu covered her ears. Yet, with all the noise, all the nerves, Andreescu hung tough and won the next game to close the deal.

Canada celebrated her victory: Twitter Reaction: Canada celebrates Andreescu’s historic win at U.S. Open. #SheTheNorth will always mark Andreescu’s victory. I saw this tweet:

Over the last eight months, 🇨🇦 Andreescu has gone from obscurity to national sports hero. And we, as a country, have entered uncharted territory. You can search for comparables, but they just aren’t really there. By: Stephen Brunt l #SheTheNorth

Here is a New York Times article about the match: Bianca Andreescu Wins the U.S. Open, Defeating Serena Williams. 

A few months ago there was a debate: IS AGE CATCHING UP WITH SERENA WILLIAMS?

It’s natural to ask the question. Serena is 37 years old playing a grueling sport while giving 100 percent of her energy. The next generation who she inspired are less than half her age. Serena said in her press conference that she didn’t play as well as she had played in earlier matches. That was true.

Serena isn’t ready to hang it up. She is physically fit and I believe she will win another major and maybe more, but I am sure from my own experience that it must be more challenging playing a grueling tournament over two weeks against younger opponents.

When I was in my 40s, each morning I was in town I worked out. At the time I loved running. I ran 5 miles each morning with a goal of 8 minutes per mile.

When I was in my 50s and maybe even early 60s, I was still running. I don’t think I ran 5 miles each day and I don’t think I ran 8 minutes per mile, but I ran. Running gave me lots of energy for my day at work. I worked very hard during my 50s and enjoyed the most successful years of my law practice.

Several years ago I had my hip replaced, both of my knees scoped. I don’t believe I have run a mile since. I walk, but I get easily bored with it. Last November, a surgeon fused my right foot. For the next six weeks I slept in a boot and was unable to walk.

On December 31st I was readmitted to the hospital because my foot was infected and the infection was traveling up my leg. A second surgery was done on January 4. Over the next six weeks I was connected to a portable IV and I was unable to walk.

There is no way I could have done my legal work during those times. I would have had to rely on the next generation. For each of us, a time will come when we aren’t able to make the same effort with the same focus. Are the lawyers helping you prepared for that time?

In August, Nancy and I went with friends for golf in Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island. (It was 100 degrees each day in Dallas and in the 70s in Eastern Canada). In Newfoundland, we stayed and played at the Cabot Lodge Golf Resort. One course was called “The Cliffs.”

It was lovely as they might say in Eastern Canada. There was only one slight problem, without a note from my doctor I had to walk the 18 holes on each course with major elevation changes. I suppose I could have gotten a note from my doctor, but I would have felt weird riding in a cart.

This photo shows the terrain

Nancy kept track on her watch we walked over 7 miles. After two rounds my hips hurt, my knees hurt and I could barely swing my golf club. At the end of the round, I was so gassed that I asked myself why I paid really good money for the torture I had endured.

What’s the point? I believe there are two:

  1. Never take continued good health for granted. When you are younger, stay in shape, eat healthy and produce your best work, earn your best money, make sure your clients and your team are happy, and save for your retirement.
  2. You too will age. You too will have surgeries. You too will have less energy.  It won’t be as easy bouncing back as you imagined when you were young.

I will be posting about focusing on your energy in the near future.