I've read several blogs here on Meetfighters by self-described older guys bemoaning that younger men won't take them on.
These seniors usually speculate, or even outright state, that younger guys are *afraid* of matches with older men because suffering a defeat to a senior citizen will somehow damage a reputation. Do the writers think that these young wrestlers are on their phones comparing post-match play-by-plays the way that teenage girls compare details after a romantic date?!?!
You’d think that common sense would disabuse them of that theory, but I’ve read it here several times.
Another touchy point seems to be that anyone would assume their match motives are anything less than pure athleticism. So much effort expended describing how they have never been fitter, stronger, or more ready to take on all comers – with reassurances that prospective opponents need not worry about unwanted sexual advances.
I totally get that if someone embraces wrestling or weight training later in life that they’ll get the same positive feedback loop that young gym rats get when they pack on muscle mass or hit fitness goals. It’s an aphrodisiac and you want more and more. You’ll assume that your improved BMI, sculpted abs, or improved cardio fitness entitle you to “run with the bulls”.
However, that’s a misunderstanding of the natural social boundaries of peer groups.
Walk over to your neighborhood basketball court and see how welcome you are to join the friendly pick-up game if you are over 30. Even if you can shoot 3 pointers with your eyes closed, you are an outlier to the peer group. Think you've got the skills to kick ass in Fortnite or Overwatch? Great. But is it wrong that college kids would rather game without you? No.
The challenge with being your 40s, 50s, 60s or 70s and wanting to fight tough younger opponents is that you are hoping these invisible boundaries will somehow vanish. But why would they? They don’t in other areas of life, do they? And that's ok. It probably isn't worth raising your fist in the air and complaining about how unfair it is that a guy young enough to be your son or grandson won't battle with you. Accept the declined invitation and move onto someone who will take you on.
I don’t bother sending messages to anyone more than about a decade younger than me, unless something in their profile suggests that we might be a good fit. Does that limit the overall prospective pool of opponents? Of course. But I'm ok with that. But I’d rather have realistic expectations than set myself up for frustration and resentment.
I'm sure there are other constructive pieces of advice for us to share so that the most senior members of this tribe can be reassured that there is a place for them in wrestling. Any thoughts?