Former U.S. Surgeon General Joins NSGA Foundation Trustee Board
We are excited to welcome former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin as a new Trustee for the NSGA Foundation. Benjamin, who served as the United States 18th Surgeon General from 2009-2013, was unanimously approved to join the Foundation board by the NSGA Board of Directors at our recent Annual Meeting.
"Our organization has made it a priority to bring in more people of capacity to advance our foundation mission," NSGA CEO Marc T. Riker said. "Dr. Benjamin brings not only a wealth of medical knowledge, but also a great deal of experience in guiding practical policy making that will be an asset to our Board of Trustees." Benjamin is the Founder and CEO of BayouClinic, Inc. in Alabama, and the NOLA.com/Times Picayune Endowed Chair of Public Health Sciences at Xavier University of Louisiana. She has a BS in chemistry from Xavier, attended Morehouse School of Medicine, earned an MD degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and an MBA from Tulane University. In 1998, Benjamin was the United States recipient of the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights. She received the 2000 National Caring Award, which was inspired by Mother Teresa and was recognized with the Papal honor Pro Ecclesia et Ponticifice from Pope Benedict XVI. She was honored with a MacArthur Genius Award Fellowship and the recipient of the Chairman's Award at the 42nd NAACP Image Awards. She has been chosen as a Kellogg National Fellow and Rockefeller Next Generation Leader, and is the recipient of 24 honorary degrees. In May 2013, Reader's Digest, ranked her #22 of the "100 Most Trusted People in America."
NSGA Welcomes Jason Mountain to the Staff Team
Jason Mountain has joined the NSGA staff as our Manager of Operations and Venues. He is responsible for coordinating the setup, usage, and operations of the various sports, and event venues in use for the Senior Games. Jason is no stranger to NSGA, as he held the position of Basketball Chair for the 2015 National Senior Games presented by Humana. The South Dakota native comes to us from Cleveland, Ohio, where he coached collegiately for Notre Dame College for the past three years. Prior to that, Jason was a physical education teacher and high school basketball coach in Wyoming for 12 years. Throughout his career, Jason has been involved in the operational side of running youth leagues, sports camps, summer athletic programs, Special Olympics, and recreational sport leagues. Welcome to the team, Jason!
Now Online: 2017 National Games Sport Competition Schedule
The Sport Competition Schedule for the 2017 National Senior Games presented by Humana is now online at NSGA.com. Please refer to this for confirmed dates for each of our 19 medal sports. Venues will be announced later in the spring.
Please also note the age-division/event specific schedule will be available when registration opens later this year. Event specific times will not be available until after registration closes when the number of participants for age groups are known. The actual days of competition may vary depending on number of registered athletes in each event.
Upcoming Qualifying Games
The schedule of qualifying games is heating up! Looking at the calendar, April has games in Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, and our Canadian partner games in Quebec Province. Competition opens in eleven more games in May: California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, South Carolina, Vermont and Virginia.
Share Your Memories and Tips for the 30th Anniversary
Athletes, you can help us celebrate 30 years of National Senior Games in 2017 by sharing your best memories and fitness "secrets" this year. Selected entries will be shared on a 30th Anniversary web page and newsletter in 2017, plus in special displays and activities during The Games in Birmingham. Follow the links to convenient online forms for these two promotions:
Memories of The Games
The introduction on the online form gives many examples of the types of memories we would love to hear from you, from funny to inspirational. You can even attach a photo to go with your story.
30 Health and Fitness Secrets of Senior AthletesThe top 30 athlete "secrets" will be shared with national media in 2017. What's your brief statement? It can be an inspiration, a favorite or your own original expression, or advice you have gathered from others. It can be about exercise, nutrition, keeping mentally active, or staying motivated. Let's hear it!
HUMANA Heroes: Athlete of the Month
When the West Virginia Generals men's 75-79 basketball team won a hard-fought gold medal in the 2015 National Senior Games presented by Humana, the players celebrated another accomplishment: four of the five teammates played for the same high school six decades ago.
Asked how it felt to triumph over a field of 15 competitive teams, 77-year-old captain Harold Vealey replies with a laugh, "All I felt was bruised and sore. My game is to drive a lot, so guys grab and hold my arms. By the end, both arms were one solid bruise. When you get old, gosh, that happens. But we're all in pretty good shape and play well together. We read each other's minds."
Vealey and teammates Fred Duffield, Sam Dye, and Don Griffith all played for Stonewall Jackson High School, while the other, Dennis Parker, graduated from rival Charleston High School in the Mountain State's capital city. And yes, Parker gets teased for being an outsider by the others.
"I was the shortest center in the state, and we were the largest high school in West Virginia," Vealey recalls. "One of my best games was against the great Jerry West, who played for East Bank High School. In the first game, we won and I got 25 points. Three weeks later, we played again and Jerry guarded me because I had been the high scorer. Well, he got 40 and I got seven points. I saw him out socially awhile back and he didn't let me forget it."
Vealey advanced to college play at Marshall University, but says his career ended pretty quickly "because there weren't many 5'11" centers in college." In his adult life, the Charleston native switched to guard and continued to play in the Army and in league basketball while building an insurance career and a family of three children. He also took up judo and received a brown belt.
While all of this is interesting, Vealey has gained notoriety in recent years due to his uncanny resemblance to a certain beer commercial character. On a whim, in 2012 he entered a "Most Interesting Man" look-alike contest at a Cinco de Mayo festival in the parking lot of a local Mexican restaurant. "There must have been 500 people there, and I won the contest and $300," he says with a chuckle. "It sorta caught on. I get stopped on the street and in restaurants. Good looking women want to have their picture taken with me. My wife just shakes her head. I'm glad she goes along with it." Vealey was even recruited to act the part in a TV commercial for local car dealership.
The gregarious hoopster is a past president of the West Virginia Senior Games and continues to be an active volunteer. He went to St. Louis for his first National Senior Games in 1989 and has only missed one since.
Asked what his favorite expression is, Vealey's response is rapid. "I don't always play games, but when I do, it's senior basketball."
Senior Health and Wellness
Personal Best Debuts First Two 2016 Athlete Features
The Personal Best initiative is now entering its fourth year of presenting a broad range of athlete conversations aimed to inspire aging people of all abilities to pursue their best fitness and health. This month, the "Class of 2016" makes its debut with our first two amazing senior athlete profiles. Watch for two more over the next month and additional Personal Best profiles over the course of the year.
By his own estimation, Tom Lough,77, does not possess special skills or talents, athletic or otherwise. How, then, does he explain a life of many accomplishments that includes competing in Modern Pentathlon at age 26 in the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City? His story is interesting and unique, and there is something for everyone to learn from his
experiences and advice about how to live life fully from wire-to-wire.
What motivates Senior Games athletes? It can be a variety of factors, and each person expresses them in their own way. 71-year old Marika Vorosmarty-Blumerick's motivations are remarkable because she approaches her game as a Deaf athlete competing in a hearing world. Read about her fascinating journey to overcome many levels of challenges as she pursues her ongoing Personal Best.
NSGA Online Merchandise Store
New 2017 Apparel, Improved Online Store Debuts
Looking for logo gear for the 2017 National Senior Games presented by Humana? It's now available, and you now have an improved online store format to shop on! NSGA's partner Fine Designs innovated our merchandise program two years ago by allowing you to custom print with option to add images on front, back and each sleeve of apparel items, both at The Games and online.
Now, for this qualifying year there's more variety than ever before. Not only can you get the 2017 logo, there's also options to get "THERE IS NO OFFSEASON" and "SENIOR ATHLETES ARE OFF THEIR ROCKERS" theme graphics. As always, you can get NSGA logos to proudly display too. Apparel choices for type, size and color are many.
When you visit the online store, simply click on either NSGA or 2017 images to the various apparel types. Then click "Personalize" to position and add the artwork you want onto your selection. You can virtually turn your apparel on every side and design your own unique gear if you like. Then add to cart and you're on your way to styling a new look. Get started today!
The Official NSGA Store at NSGA.com