Something I've noticed for a while is how people's attention is naturally focused on the young. Any accomplishments by a young person seem to gain more recognition. I've always felt that if you do something when you're 20, it can be a big deal; if you do something when you're 40, almost nobody cares. For example, thousands of people turn out to watch high school and college sporting events. Yet how many people would come out to watch people in their 40s compete in sporting events? Not too many. Even if the quality of play was higher with the older participants, I still don't think people would show up.
Some may think that this focus on youth is unhealthy, and that this happens because the media pushes coverage of the young. I disagree. I think there is a simple evolutionary explanation: accomplishments when you are young have added significance because you are in the prime mating years. A big accomplishment can boost your stock so to speak, which can lead to more/better mating opportunities.
Therefore, from an evolutionary sense, it makes sense that friends, family, and potential mates would all be interested in a young person's accomplishments. What I can't figure out though is why other unrelated people would also be interested in the accomplishments of the young. I feel there is some additional type of evolutionary wiring whereas people are in general motivated to focus on the young.
Here's an example of what I mean. This quote is by NBA player Ron Artest speaking about Kobe Bryant:
"I'm finished looking up to Kobe. That was a couple of years ago," Artest said. "There's new young guys in there to look up to now. Like the Brandon Roys and LeBron James and Dwyane Wades and O.J. Mayos. I would like to give those guys a little confidence."
Why does Artest want to boost up the younger players and disregard the older Kobe Bryant? Again, there seems to be a natural inclination to devalue the old and focus more on the young. Why, I'm not so sure.