This present business is far more complicated. For as long as I can remember. I have thought of managers and coaches and general managers and owners and commentators as Zen masters of their sports, possessors of a lifetime of knowledge. The idea that I might be not only older than they but also considerably older never entered my mind. I still do not believe it.
"Macaulay Culkin is the coach of the Cincinnati Bengals," I say. "He looks cute in orange."
"That is Dave Shula," I am told. "He is 34 years old."
"Well, Macaulay is the coach of the University of Virginia basketball team...."
" Jeff Jones. He is 32."
"General manager of the San Diego Padres...."
" Randy Smith. Thirty."
Thirty? I don't know. I lave youngish people been in charge of a lot of teams throughout sports history? Is this a new trend? Or have I simply been missing something on my way to growing old? Has anyone seen Gary Bettman, the NHL commissioner, and Macaulay Culkin in the same room? How about Bob Costas and Macaulay? How about this new coach of the San Jose Sharks, this Kevin Constantine? He's supposed to be 34.1 haven't seen his picture yet, but I'll bet he bears a strong resemblance to You Know Who.
One area at least seems to have settled down. For a short while I thought this trend was spreading into other arenas of life. I was watching White House press conferences, and Macaulay was answering the questions. At least he was wearing glasses for the role. I mentioned my fears and was told that the speaker was actually someone named George Stephanopoulos and that he was 32 years old and a political genius, the same way Buck Showalter is a baseball genius. I was trying to adjust to this concept when Stephanopoulos suddenly disappeared. He was replaced by an older man.
"Where is Stephanopoulos?" I asked.