There is much to be said for not joining in!
All through my younger years, I have joined in at family gatherings (Thanksgiving, etc.) sports events. These have included mass soccer games, touch football (à la The Kennedys), paddle ball, handball, basketball, swimming contests, roller skating and/or ice skating, long mountain hikes and river rafting. We are an active family.
When the kids (about 15 in number) were young, it was easy to compete and beat them in most or all of these hard-fought activities. Now, two things have happened: 1) they have gotten older and 2) so have I. They are in the 12-year-old to 16-year-old range and I have graduated to the over-70 and not-getting-younger range.
It is time to definitely "Not Join In."
They are faster, harder hitting, more competitive and more vengeful at this time. They want, very much, to pay the older generation back for all the years we brutalized them with our bulk. They hold nothing back as they push us aside and trounce us in all activities.
My 8-year-old grandson, Eli, constantly challenges me to footraces. Like an idiot savant, I agree. He races past me as if I were standing still and taunts me unmercifully from the finish line. I am doomed to the bronze and silver medal when I race with Eli.
His 11-year-old sister, Rachel, only desires for soccer kick-the-ball around. I accept and in a moment she shows me her decoy moves and powerful left foot in kicking the soccer ball. After three kicks my ankle is sore and my knees need replacement by an operation.
You would not believe how much pleasure I derive from intentionally not hearing and secondarily not joining in on the call for all competitors to step onto the arena stage and play ball.
I let them start their games and then I meander slowly onto the sidelines and enjoy their games as an admiring spectator.
Youth must be served! All others step aside!