February 10 Letters: Why age doesn’t always have to stop play

Have your say

From: Brian H Sheridan, Redmires Road, Sheffield.

I WAS intrigued by Chris 
Bond’s piece on longevity in 
sport close to the 50th anniversary of Sir Stanley Matthews’ last football 
league appearance at the age 
of 50 (The Yorkshire Post, February 5).

Certainly the frugality of fitness fanatic Matthews was a factor in his achievement at a time when his contemporaries would relax after a game with a fag in the bath and a pint or two in the pub.

However, it should be remembered that players turned out far less frequently in those days.

This could explain the 
paradox of boxers winning 
world titles in their forties in arguably one of the most brutal of sports: a top male tennis player will compete more 
times in a few months –sometimes over five sets – than a boxer will fight in his whole professional career.

The longevity of goalkeepers and batsmen is easily explained. Research has shown that 
while stamina and strength decline with age, reaction 
times do not.

Moreover, the skill factor may be enhanced by experience.

I have always thought that the great Geoffrey Boycott still had several more centuries in him at the time of retirement.