April 05, 2016

Beware GGMdom

by Pam
Doug became a Great Grand Master (65+) at the end of last year just after the Kingston Worlds. Medicare kicked in and thanks to Obama Care (said sarcastically), he now has cheaper and better medical insurance than I do. Nevertheless my company’s insurance made a non-mandatory accident policy available at a super cheap price that covers both of us and pays me cash every time one of us has an “accident.” I don’t know exactly why, but I sort of bet on injuries this year and signed us up.

February rolled around and Doug headed off to Florida for the three event Florida Masters Week. Early into the second event, he retired mid race in pain and unable to pull on any controls.  He called to ask what I thought he should do. No brainer, head to the nearest emergency clinic. With his medical insurance, it was 100% covered with zero out-of-pocket. Sure enough, bruised ribs. My odds bet paid off and I got a check for his troubles. 

He came home, took it easy, rested up and healed then March rolled around. Doug was out back playing with our dog who had the zoomies and he put a hand out and she ran right through it. He complained about the pain for a day but his hand looked and worked perfectly fine. My policy only pays if care is sought within 48 hours so off to the nearest emergency clinic he went. Sure enough, broken thumb. He got a little thumb splint and my odds bet paid off again. 

April rolled around and Doug had been warned to be extra careful with his hand because if things went south he would probably miss two sailing seasons. After four weeks of healing, he decided he could probably manage a little light wind and went sailing over the weekend just before his four week follow-up. Monday rolled around and off he went to the doctor and came back with a full blown cast half way up his arm with his thumb sticking straight up. Cast equals more money for me!

I really don’t enjoy seeing him get injured but it is sort of nice to get a check every time he does. But seriously, what gives? Is it just Doug or is it GGMdom?  

At the France Master Worlds, we spent time with GGM Keith Wilkins (13 time Laser Master World Champion).  I don't remember his exact words but the takeaway was that age does catch up and things just aren't as easy as they use to be.  

At the Canada Master Worlds, we spent time with GGM Mark Bethwaite (9 time Laser Master World Champion).  His ride to the regatta/hotel got delayed in the locks in upstate New York and he drove ahead to train and bunked with us for a night before driving back and picking up his hotel. As fit as he looks on the water and on land, he too confirmed that age does indeed catch up eventually. 

So, if anyone has any suggestions about supplements, diet, exercise, etc. that helps an old GGM heal faster and stay less breakable, I’m all ears. And, of course, Doug will be giving a thumbs up to everything for a few more weeks. Let’s hope the cast comes off in time for Mexico in May.


  1. Hi Doug, I hope you will recover well and fast enough for the Worlds in Mexico. I just came back from a week in Cabarete and my knee suffered for the whole week spent hiking in a strong breeze ( I am only a GM) regardless of the physical preparation I supposed to be enought....
    Peter Seidenberg, 11 times master world champion, 78 years old GGM was with us. You should see how strong, fit and motivated he is and how fast he was in a 20+ breeze .... I think he could give suggestions about diet, exercise, etc...

  2. Yes, getting older comes with some physical challenges - but never forget that at least getting older beats the alternative.

  3. And its great that now only two things make me feel stiff and old - when I exercise... and when I don't.

    Peter has graciously agreed to tell us how he stays competitive.


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