Basketball is a young person’s sport. The average NBA career is 4.5 years. The average WNBA career lasts just 3.5 years.

But then there’s Taru Tuukkanen. Not only still playing in her native Finland, but winning championships… and being named the MVP of the finals with her 13-point, 13-rebound, 14-assist triple-double. Not bad for a 46-year-old.

Excerpt above and quotes below are from this nice feature on Taru by Shelby Dermer on (Taru played college hoops at Xavier.)

Yes, Taru’s been blessed with good genes – she’s never had a major injury. But she also has the will to keep going.

“I have the passion and a crazy mind that I cannot get enough basketball, I understand it’s not normal at all for someone to still be able to do this.”  

Taru Tuukkanen

It’s not normal. But it’s certainly admirable. Taru found something she loved, and she kept at it. The games are the easy part… it’s the long hours of practice, with no cheering crowd, that require a higher level of commitment.

Most of us never play in front of a crowd. But whatever we do, we can only get better through the hard work. The long hours. The practice. Yes, we talkin’ ’bout practice…

You’ve gotta be willing to put in the work. And you will, if you love it enough.

“I’ll know when it’s time. I don’t want to play if I’m not good. As long as there’s a team that wants me and I feel like I can give something to them, then why not keep going?”  

Why not keep going? Words for every middle-aged person to embrace. And be the MVP in a league of their own.