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"Plus Factor" May 2017 Athlete of the Month

Dick Lane, 87, Livonia, Michigan 

An exciting new development for the 2017 National Senior Games presented by Humana is the addition of the 85+ age division for men’s basketball. This five-year shift upwards means that there will be now an 80-84 age group of teams under this new age threshold. One of the main forces helping to make this happen is 87-year-old hoopster Dick Lane of Livonia, Michigan.

The eight-time National Senior Games participant wrote to NSGA in the spring of 2016 to petition for the new division. In order to make it a reality, NSGA required that at least four teams had to register to create the higher division. Dick got to work, scouring the nation for players by word of mouth and communicating with state games organizers. “There were twelve 80+ men’s teams in 2013 and 2015, and nobody was sure if we could get enough to come,” Dick explains. “I made and received a lot of phone calls and emails to help pull it together.”

His efforts were met with success, and there will be six men’s 85+ teams competing at The Games in Birmingham. With a background of Air Force service, obtaining a masters degree from the University of Michigan, and a successful career in hospital administration that included three CEO assignments, Dick proved to be the right guy for the mission. “During my occupational career, I would acquire a gym and bring together doctors and employees in the hospital who played basketball and have some fun,” he recalls. “My passion is that an exercise lifestyle is one the greatest things to keep you going. If you can find an exercise that you enjoy, that is just pure dynamite.”

As a youth, Dick did not have many opportunities to pursue sports. “I went to a small high school with no sports teams. I was also shoveling manure on our 160-acre farm, so I didn’t have time to go down to the gym to play ball.” He did play intramural sports in college, and says he’s always walked or jogged to keep his body in tune.

Twenty years ago, Dick bumped into the Michigan Senior Olympics, and a new career as a senior athlete began. He has played with teams from Ann Arbor and Detroit through the years, and he hopes to repeat the 2015 silver medal performance in the new age group with his Oldies But Goodies team. “I’m having the time of my life. I’ll admit I like to have fun, and the exercise is also good for my heart, legs and lungs.”

Dick has no doubt that 85+ is here to stay. “Some of the guys I spoke to were 84. They are now looking forward to being in that age group the next time around. I feel certain it will continue to fly.”

“I'm glad I did it,” he continues. “Many might not have heard about this, and the guys are all excited about this. I am just tickled to death to see it happen.”

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