It's not supposed to be this easy. It's supposed to take time, a lot of hard work and endless patience. Failure should precede success, and only those who can overcome it get to achieve greatness.

At the moment, the expected timeline for a professional athlete's progression is being eaten alive by the ultra-talented young in a variety of sports.

Start with baseball. Fox's theme for Tuesday night's All-Star Game telecast was baseball's youth movement and it was born of validity. Nineteen of the 76 players - 38 on each side - in attendance for the midsummer classic were under the age of 25.

The National League, in particular, was flooded with youth. Thirteen of its players were 25 or younger. Take away all the pitchers 26 and older and you still could have had a full starting rotation with the 25-and-under guys.

San Francisco's Madison Bumgarner, 25, would be the ace based on his status as the reigning World Series MVP. The 25-and-under rotation would also include Pittsburgh's Gerrit Cole, 24, and Atlanta's Shelby Miller, 24. Miller used to be with the Cardinals, but St. Louis found him expendable and used the young righthander to acquire outfielder Jason Heyward in the offseason. Amazingly, the Cardinals still have two other starters in the 25-and-under rotation: 23-year-old Carlos Martinez and 24-year-old Michael Wacha.

The Cardinals also supply the 25-and-under closer with Trevor Rosenthal, who is 25.

All that success by pitchers at such a young age should make the Phillies less apprehensive about bringing top pitching prospect Aaron Nola to the big leagues sooner rather than later. If your argument against a Nola promotion from triple-A Lehigh Valley is that it will allow him to reach salary arbitration or free agency sooner, stop it. The Phillies keep insisting money is not a problem and it is not.

Sorry for the soliloquy. Now back to the youth movement.

At 23, Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels already has been to four All-Star Games, winning the game's MVP award the last two years. In the 13 years before that, the average age of the All-Star Game MVP was 31 years old.

The last player to win the All-Star game MVP at 22, as Trout did last year, was Seattle's Ken Griffey Jr. in 1992. We could see then that the future was going to be great for Griffey, but even he did not have the combination of speed and power possessed by Trout.

The day after the Millville Meteor led the American League to a 6-3 victory, The Inquirer's Phil Anastasia said Trout looks like he's still playing in the Cape-Atlantic League even though he is actually playing against the best competition in the world.

At some point soon there might be room for an argument on whether Washington's Bryce Harper is better, or at least as good as, Trout. For now, Harper must settle for being the National League MVP of the first half of the season at the age of 22. The two men combined have already played in seven All-Star Games.

Baseball is not the only sport being dominated by the young.

Golf, both men's and women's, has undergone a massive youth infusion as well.

As the first round of the British Open unfolded early Thursday morning, it was clear that Jordan Spieth, at 21, is the new king of American golf and Tiger Woods, at 39, is a faded star who will never catch Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 major titles.

Three of the top five players in the world - Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler - are 26 or younger.

In the women's game, South Korea's In Gee Chun, a 20-year-old unknown, just won the U.S. Open in a field that included 30 teenagers. The second-ranked player in the world - New Zealand's Lydia Ko - is only 18.

Oddly, women's tennis, a sport that used to be dominated by players in their teens and early 20s, is being ruled by a 33-year-old woman who is showing no signs of aging. Serena Williams will go after a calendar-year Grand Slam later this summer in New York. She did show some vulnerability Thursday when she pulled out of the Swedish Open with an elbow injury.

Exactly why the youths of the world are excelling right now is open for speculation. While some will argue that it's bad for athletes to specialize in one sport at a young age, it could be that the specialization is allowing for athletes to excel at their sport of choice at a younger age.

Kids, especially the elite ones, are surely getting better coaching, training and dietary tips now than they did 15 to 20 years ago.

In the case of baseball, maybe there are just more opportunities for younger players now than there were in the 1990s and early 2000s because the use of performance enhancing drugs has been more closely monitored. Without artificial aid, it's much more difficult to play the game into your mid-30s and early 40s.

Whatever the reason, we have entered an era of professional sports in which it is good to be young.

@brookob