Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Young At Heart

To some, age is just a number.

Donnie Young, who's nearing the wrong side of 4o, is living proof. I gas you not.

He's middle-aged man trapped in the frame of a 25-year-old protein junkie.

He's a small, stocky man with big, lofty aspirations to hang a national championship banner in Hermosa Beach, Calif., where he and teammate Marty Salokas hail from. The two have put Hermosa Beach on the national map this year, scorching the sand in the 10-city national tour.

It happens every tournament, like clockwork.

Young, known to the Beach Tennis USA outside world as "the golden bullet," chases the depressurized ball around the sand and makes stellar plays at net.

Buoyed by his much-younger teammate, Young gets fired up like a high school senior and executes a arsenal of manipulative serves. He leaps sky-high, floating his chiseled 5-foot-8 somewhere between the sun and the sand.

Is this guy for real?

Beach Tennis doesn't have an old timers day.

Still, if this cheetah-quick cat continues to age like wine, one team at the high-altitude level (in this year's case, team Italy) may not have much breathing room.

It seems like a daunting task, but Salokas and Young spoke freely about their desire to re-write the record book and quell the Italians' quest for a third consecutive national championship trophy.

After a hard day of work under the boiling sun, the golden bullet looks like he can use a silver bullet.

The silver lining for the Young-Salokas tandem is they've won two of the last three national tour events, albeit they don't have athleticism or manpower to be the hunted in the Beach Tennis USA landscape.