"Right now, this is the place where the elephants go to lie down," said Tiff grandly. "A place all of us who were born athletes and who will die athletes can come and be with our kind. It's pure. But perhaps not for long. Look at these crowds. As the baby boomers age, the audience will continue to grow for masters sport. Soon, they'll corrupt this. There will be commercial sponsors and shoe deals and pretty soon it will be, "Carl Lewis, we're waiting for you.' "
The final indignity shone clearly ahead for Tiff. "It's inevitable," he said. "In a few years they'll fuse the Olympics with the Masters."
In that light, the meet again seemed suspended at a golden moment, its participants set free from the seriousness of youth. Set free, as Tiff saw it, even from the forces that make us wither.
"Time doesn't change," he said. "It's only in our minds that it's rushing past."