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The Long Run - December 2015

Association News
Personal Best Closes Year in Sunny Florida 
Ryan Beighley, 90-year-old swimmer and runner, displays his Personal Best certificate above with his wife Marty (also a Senior Games athlete) by his side. He is congratulated by NSGA CEO Marc T. Riker (left) and Florida Senior Games Director (and current NSGA Board Chair) Stephen Rodriguez at the presentation made at the Long Center in Clearwater, where swimming and volleyball action kicked off the Florida Senior Games on Saturday, Dec. 5.
 
Beighley is a decorated WWII veteran who credits his Marine reconnaissance team experience for his lifelong activity and good health. You owe it to yourself to read his profile "Wait to Worry," and read our tour blog of the Florida visit, on thePersonal Best Page at NSGA.com.
 
NSGA's Personal Best health and wellness initiative, which profiles a wide range of senior athletes to inspire all aging Americans to be more active, will enter its fourth year in 2016. Watch for the first wave of the "Class of 2016" to appear in February.
 
Game On!
NSGA Co-Hosts Non-Ambulatory Veterans Bowling Clinic
In 2014, NSGA acted on a commitment to expand sport participation by non-ambulatory senior athletes in State and National Games. It's a great challenge to provide accommodation and to promote participation to disabled persons, but our organization believes it's one well worth taking on. One specific population NSGA wants to serve is veterans, and the Veterans Administration has provided a grant for NSGA and State Members to help those who have served and sacrificed to join the Senior Games Movement.
 
On December 5, NSGA and the Florida Senior Games hosted a bowling clinic for non-ambulatory veterans from the Bay Pines Veterans facility at Seminole Lanes, the bowling venue for the state games.  US Dept. of Veterans Affairs Recreation Therapist Lin Hales recruited several vets from the facility and the clinic was facilitated by Cory Krause, Seminole Lane's general manager.  Hales is shown above assisting 88-year-old Mickey Sankovet to roll the rock.
 
Florida Senior Games provided tee shirts for the participants and an opportunity to return the next day to bowl in the singles event at their 2015 Games. One of the veterans, 65-year-old John Starr, had not bowled in over 20 years and smiled from ear to ear as he rolled two strikes and a finishing score of 131.
 
NSGA's Marc T. Riker, Becky Sewell and Del Moon were on hand to assist and congratulate the vets. "We hope to work with our states to have many more clinics like this around the country next year to stimulate more participation," Riker said, noting that the 2017 Games in Birmingham will again offer non-ambulatory bowling, horseshoes and shuffleboard divisions. 
 
Get Ready for Qualifying Year
The road to the 2017 National Senior Games presented by Humana goes through one of our Member Games in 2016. Most are also open to non-residents so athletes have the opportunity to train and tune up at more than one if they like (and out-of-staters do not bump the top finishing in-staters from a qualifying spot). Many 2016 Member Games have already set their competition dates, and the rest will have their plans ready soon. You can find information on qualifying games on our updated State Information page at NSGA.com. Get ready to punch your ticket to the next National Senior Games, which will take place in early to mid-June of 2017. Individual sport schedules are being finalized and the exact dates will be announced soon. 2017 will also feature a celebration of 30 years of National Senior Games, so you won't want to miss the extra pageantry and pride that will be on display!
 
HUMANA Heroes: Athlete of the Month
State-to-State Recovery
Mike Devaney only started his career as a track and race walking senior athlete last year, but his face is rapidly becoming as familiar as any of his more experienced peers. That's because Mike, who went through a serious health scare in 2014, is acting on an inspiration to go to the 2017 National Senior Games presented by Humana, and to compete in as many qualifying games as he can get to along the way. He has already made it to 12 states this year, and has 16 more on his 2016 calendar.
 
Two years ago, the 65-year-old Miami, Arizona resident was still pursuing a successful career designing and building casinos and hotels, but it was also a fast-paced and stressful life. The Seattle native ran cross country and middle distance track events in high school and earned athlete of the year honors at Green River College, but sports fell off the radar when he went to work. 
 
"I came back and ran some 5Ks at 36, but after I turned 38 I did nothing and got really overweight." His wakeup call came in April, 2014 when he suffered a severe shingles outbreak that led to pneumonia. "I coughed so hard my ribs exploded - three of them broke and one got permanently dislocated. The other three are still healing slowly."
 
After a few weeks, Mike couldn't take sitting propped up in his recliner any more, put on shoes and went out to walk, which was excruciating at first. "I had to tell myself I needed to improve myself both in mind and body. I decided to start race walking, and began training and gradually losing weight." In May of 2015, Mike entered a USATF masters race walking event in Las Vegas and wanted to find more opportunities to compete.
 
"I Googled and found National Senior Games and a whole list of state games. It intrigued me, so I researched further and just set up as many games as I could for the year. I knew that would keep me training and going."
 
The goal began as an active way to regain his health, but the sport sojourn is paying broader dividends. "I've seen and done a lot in my life that few people have experienced," Mike says. "I owned seven houses before I got sick, and went from making a lot of money to making no money overnight. But I have to say, this is turning out to be the most enjoyable thing I've done."
 
"People have really been receptive so far," he continues. "They don't treat me like an outsider. In fact, they're interested in my story. It's great to travel and meet all these people. I never would have gone to beautiful communities like Bend, Oregon or Sheridan, Wyoming otherwise. It's just a wonderful experience."
 
Mike eagerly looks forward to going to Birmingham in 2017, and intends to continue to add state games to visit into the future. "I want to go to Nationals because I want to experience the pageantry and be a part of it all. It's an amazing thing for these games to get people out enjoying life again with sports." 
We're always looking for great athlete stories.  Submit yours or nominate a fellow athlete who inspires you at our Athlete of the Month page at NSGA.com!
 
Senior Health and Wellness
A Question of Balance...and How to Maintain It
What is Sarcopenia? It is basically muscle loss that leads to imbalance and lessened mobility that is often observed in aging people. The good news is that we can counteract and even prevent the onset of sarcopenia. Follow the link below to learn more.  
There's really good news for senior athletes that came to mind while reviewing this article. You may have participated in one of the SAFE athlete screenings that have been conducted in association with the University of South Dakota at many of our Member Games and at every National Senior Games since 2011. One of the major components of the screening measures balance as a key indicator of overall strength. Guess what? Senior athletes do far better than their age peers. Keep moving!
 
NSGA Online Merchandise Store
Last Minute Holiday Gift Ideas
Are you being asked what you want for a holiday gift, or just want to treat yourself? Get your order into the NSGA Store right away to get it delivered before Christmas.
 
Relive your memories of the 2015 National Senior Games presented by Humana, or get something spiffy with an NSGA emblem. There are selections for all seasons and many custom print options. 
 
The time is now to visit The NSGA Store at www.NSGA.com to get yours!
 
 
 
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