Bruce Boyd, 82, Neptune Beach, Florida
Bruce Boyd isn’t one to shy away from second chances. When he found Senior Games, he embraced the second chance to throw things around on a field as in his youth. The two-time Florida Senior Games track and field athlete is excited to discover masters sports and to be a newcomer to the 2022 National Senior Games presented by Humana in Greater Fort Lauderdale this May.
There was an even bigger second chance that drew him from California to his current home near Jacksonville. “I tell people I moved to Florida because I wanted to chase chicks,” he says with a chuckle. “And I found one – my high school sweetheart!”
Bruce explains that after his first wife passed away, Bruce found that Renee Faure was somewhere in Florida. “I got online one day to research if I could find her. Google wasn’t nearly what it is now, but I found two Renee Faure’s, and the one in Miami turned out to be a movie star. I figured that was her because she was so beautiful, but it wasn’t.”
He recalled her birthday and found his match in Neptune Beach and decided to play the “guess who this is” game. “I gave her some clues and she almost hung up on me before I told her who I was.” They clicked when the two met in California, and Bruce moved east where they were married in 2005.
A decade later, at 77 Bruce was at a class reunion and heard that his friend John Bronstein could not attend because he was competing in a track meet. “John was a record holder in discus at Dartmouth. I found out how far he threw in his meet and thought, ‘Gosh, I could beat that’ because I threw pretty far in college.”
A self-described gym rat, Bruce played many sports and was on the football and track teams in college and missed the camaraderie and competition. He bought a shot put and after some practice went to New Hampshire to meet John and was invited to join the Thor’s Stone Athletic Club. He beat his friend’s shot distance, then picked up the discus and hammer throw with equally impressive results.
The javelin is a new challenge he has picked up. “It’s a lot of fun, but it’s a really different animal,” he says. “I always admired those guys and always wanted to throw it but never had the opportunity.” He connected with National Senior Games record holder Michael Brown at a meet in Tallahassee and the two have become good friends. “Mike is always coaching kids, and I’ll go throw on the side and watch how he coaches them. I have absorbed a lot.”
Bruce was undaunted when he found he had prostate cancer last June, and he looks forward as he undergoes 40 proton therapy sessions and medications that weaken his muscles. “I’m gonna beat it,” he quickly says. “I’m in the gym every day, and the treatments stop in a year, so I’ll be in good shape. I’m still competing!”
With medal success at the past two Florida Senior Games, Bruce is not putting pressure on himself to be a giant killer on the national stage. “I compete against myself, and I don’t worry about anybody else out there,” he says. “I just want personal bests every time I go out, no matter what I’m throwing.”
Bruce has a standard response when others ask if they should take a second chance at sports. “There’s two words I always use: Don’t wait! You can defeat yourself before you even start. We cheer each other on in Senior Games. It’s fun, way more fun that going to the gym. It’s just so worth it.”