Before I get started with my column, I want to get some things off my chest to clear the air.
My name is Juan Carlos Reyes. I was born June 17, 1980 in Crystal City, Texas. That makes me 27 years old. I know what you're thinking. What is my secret? You're probably wondering what's my point? My point is to get across that age is nothing but a number, which is easier said than done when you are in the world of sports, especially after last week's revelation about Houston Astro shortstop Miguel Tejada being older than what he is listed on the official program.
On ESPN's acclaimed show E:60, Tejada was being interviewed by Tom Farrey about what Tejada thought was his baseball career. It turned out Tejada was presented from Farrey with an actual copy of Tejada's birth certificate.
Originally on the programs, Tejada was listed as being born on May 25, 1976, which would make him 31.
As it turns out, his original birth year is 1974, which means he really is 33.
Tejada was shocked and a bit upset with Farrey for confronting him about his personal life and did what most athletes do when they are caught lying - run away.
When it comes to sports, age is a very big deal, which is sad, but true.
In fact, it has gotten to the point where you are in the danger zone of retirement after the age of 35. In other words, if I had any dreams of becoming an athlete now, it would be very short-lived.
Like I could really be an athlete, has anybody actually seen me before?
All joking aside, age has become an issue, but sometimes it can actually be a non-factor as long as the athlete is still putting out his or her A-game.
Some of the best performances ever in sports came from people who were "past their primes."
Remember former quarterback Rich Gannon? During his time with the Oakland Raiders, he was someone that still had a cannon for an arm. He was 33 years old when he signed with the team after playing with the Minnesota Vikings, Washington Redskins and Kansas City Chiefs.
Three years after he began with the Raiders, the then-37-year-old Gannon had an impressive season throwing for 4,689 yards with 26 touchdowns. He was named the NFL Most Valuable Player, making him the second oldest player behind Charlie Conerly of the New York Giants, who won the award in 1958 at age 38.
Other athletes who have achieved great success in their "old age" were Keith Hernandez of the L.A. Dodgers, he won the MVP at age 39, and former basketball player Karl Malone, who won two MVP titles in his 30s.
Tejada should not be the least bit bothered by this mess. Personally, I think they are making a big deal out of this.
At least he isn't going through the same type of controversy as Danny Almonte.
Almonte was a Little League player, like Tejada, from the Dominican Republic. Also like Tejada, Almonte's age was listed two years younger than he was.
Although Tejada's issue has been overblown, Almonte's was nothing to make fun of.
OK, maybe it was a little funny. Who am I kidding? I thought this was a riot.
During the 2001 Little League World Series, Almonte became an instant household name.
He threw a 15-strikeout perfect game in his team's first game of the World Series. A perfect game is rare for baseball, but for Little League, Almonte's was the first one in 44 years.
Too bad it didn't count.
In Little League, the maximum age to play is 13.
Almonte was listed as a 12 year old, but it was revealed that he was really 14.
His father went to jail for falsifying documents so that he could play for the Little League.
Almonte, since then, is now a married man and was last playing baseball for the Southern Illinois Miners of the Frontier League.
It's amazing how one little number on a birth certificate can cause such a huge mess. But it should not be the main focus on your career.
I think athletes should never worry about how old they are or how old they are getting. It has already been proven in this column that you don't have to be in your early to mid-20s to have any sort of success in the sports world.
I know it looks better to see all of these fresh up-and-comers trying to make names for themselves to possibly being the next big thing. I mean look at LeBron James. The NBA's leading scorer averaged 30 points a game in his fifth season with the league. He has already scored 10,000 points and he is only 23 years old.
Success in all sports comes at any age. So what if Tejada is 33? It's not like he's close to getting some dentures.
Although it phased him during that interview, Tejada should be proud that he still has some swing in him in the Major Leagues.
General Manager Ed Wade of the Astros said it best when he said that the fact of the matter is that Tejada is playing like he is 25.
As of Monday, Tejada seemed to be holding his own, batting .310 with three home runs and 13 RBIs.
Youth might be the key to the future of sports, but age knows no boundaries.
Who knows? Maybe this column might inspire my fellow writer Jeff Tucker to pursue his crazy fantasies about playing with the Chicago Cubs?
Seriously, who would want to play for them?
Juan Carlos Reyes is a sports reporter for the Record Star. Readers may contact him at 361-387-4511 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.