A few thoughts while waiting for infields and fairways to dry out.

• Pete Rose, who played baseball well into his 40s, once said the mental goes before the physical, meaning the desire to compete leaves you before your ability does.

Barring injury, this is generally true although it varies slightly from sport to sport. It’s funny that in an aging country like the U.S., we write off athletes by their late 30s, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Brady, Manning, Jeter and a host of others are still getting it done. As much as I wanted to see 20-year-old Jordan Spieth win the Masters. I was rooting just as hard for Fred Couples and the world’s most interesting golfer, Miguel Jimenez — the golf ball talks to him; he refers to his birdies as routine pars — two guys in their 50s.

As exciting as it is to see a 15-year-old like Maranacook sophomore Reid Lanpher take on the state’s best race drivers, it’s just as much fun to watch septuagenarian Ralph Nason squeeze behind the wheel and give the youngsters a run for their money.

• I suppose I was rooting for UConn to beat Kentucky in the NCAA men’s basketball final because of regionalism. But those two guards with the great names — Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright — really won me over, more for their defense than their offense, and that proved the difference for the Huskies.

• Napier made a little news after the game when he said he goes to bed starving sometimes, raising the issue of unionizing college athletes so they can share in the NCAA’s billion dollar bonanza. It’s doubtful a national union would work in the world of private and state run colleges, but athletes need some form of representation. There’s no reason the NCAA couldn’t allow stipends for athletes in need. This could be decided on a case-to-case basis by each school.

• OK, instant replay in baseball has a few kinks, but so far it seems those in charge are more interested in making the umps look good than getting calls right. Saturday’s call at second base that went against the Red Sox was clearly wrong yet not overruled. While we’re at it, let’s drop this challenge system and concentrate on getting the calls right.

• I didn’t know what lacrosse was when I was growing up, but I understand why kids want to play. It’s fast, physical and exciting. And no, it’s not killing baseball and softball. Choices are hurting those sports in many instances and there’s nothing wrong with choices.

• Koji Uehara, the invaluable closer for the Red Sox, is out with a shoulder injury and that’s cause for concern. But it’s way too early for any sort of panic. If the team is struggling after the all-star break then maybe it’s time for some changes.

• From beating a dead-horse department: I’d like to see the Maine Principals’ Association revisit their policy on limiting exhibition games or so-called non-countable dates. The policy was instituted a few years ago to level the playing field for schools that couldn’t afford to travel. It eliminated spring trips south for those that could afford it and took some Christmas basketball tournaments out of play. Is there any evidence that this has worked? From here it appears the good teams are still good and the bad ones are still bad. Reducing policies, whether for athletics or education, to the lowest common denominator is seldom a good idea.

• It could never happen in college basketball, but tiny Union College (enrollment 2,200) just won the NCAA Division I hockey tournament, beating powerful Minnesota (enrollment nearly 50,000). From an enrollment standpoint, this is like the Colby basketball team knocking off Syracuse.

• Rumor has it Danny Ainge is cooking up something big for the offseason. I hope so because Celtics fans lost interest in this team months ago. Don’t know for sure if Brad Stevens is the answer as coach, but I do know they have no one on the roster to protect the rim. Get him some players and see what he can do. A high draft pick would be nice, but even Ainge said this draft is overrated. Package some picks and players and get someone in here who will excite the fans. Everyone is expendable, including Green and Rondo.

• If you’re a former Jet, Yankee, Canadien or Laker coming to a Boston team, you’ve got something to prove no matter what you’ve done in the past. Are you listening Darrelle Revis?

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638 [email protected] Twitter: @GaryHawkinsKJ