In this edition:
- New Mexico Torch Runner Blazes Trail in the Pool
- Cycling Away from Diabetes
- Double Trouble: Houston Siblings Hit the Tennis Courts
- And more!
Rivalry Renewed Once Again for 100-Year-Old Golfers
There aren’t many centenarians that are still active enough to golf at all, much less do it competitively. For that reason, it is quite special that two 100-year-old golfers are competing against each other at the 2019 National Senior Games presented by Humana.
Raymond Lokers and Lindsay Tise are facing off in head-to-head competition at The Games. Both are skilled golfers, and they are not strangers to one another.
“It’s great to be back,” Raymond says.
After knocking a long-range putt in from the fringe of the green on hole two at the Santa Ana Golf Club, Raymond still was not happy with his performance saying, “I’m feeling well, just not playing well,” adding, “I’m enjoying Albuquerque very much though.”
Both linksmen had a companion present to assist with club selection, evaluating the grade at each hole and with maneuvering the course. Lindsey told the Games Daily News he was thankful his son could tag along. “I have my son here to look after all of the little details,” he says.
Golfers compete in three rounds, and this seasoned pair will finish their rounds Wednesday as The Games reach midpoint with tonight’s Celebration of Athletes. Lindsey has won both times in their two previous matches at the National Senior Games.
On the question of whether he thinks he will defeat Raymond again this time around, Lindsey pauses respectfully, and then confidently replies, “Yes.”
Story and photos by Tim Harris
New Mexico Torch Runner Blazes Trail in the Pool
Arriving with a long list of event records attached to his name, Philipp “Phil” Djang, 65, is competing for something bigger than a new record or gold medal at the 2019 National Senior Games presented by Humana.
Inspired by his mother, Phil began swimming as a little kid. He went on to compete at Southern Oregon University and earn a Ph.D. in engineering at New Mexico State University. He spent 36 years working with the Army as a senior operations and research analyst at White Sands Missile Range. Phil was involved in developing an electronic device to detect roadside bombs.
“My mom has Alzheimer’s, she was a senior Olympian in one of the first Games representing New Mexico in 1987, which is very motivational,” Phil says. “I am dedicating these games, my swimming and the torch run to her.”
The Las Cruces resident holds a Master’s world record in the 50-meter backstroke and the NSGA top three all-time performance rankings in five age divisions among the 50-, 100- and 200-yard backstroke events.
Since his first appearance in 2005, Phil has earned over 26 gold medals and four silver medals in addition to the three gold medals he secured in the 50-, 100- and 200- yard backstroke yesterday. He has also proven to be a multi-talent athlete participating in racquetball, triathlons and comedy during the talent competition at a local Senior Games.
“Every athlete that is here is on a path, we are all trying to get better and it doesn’t really matter if you come in first, second, third or set a record – that’s not the real goal. The real goal is trying to improve yourself and having a positive mental attitude,” Phil emphasizes.
This year, Phil had the opportunity to represent his home state as a torch runner for the National Senior Games’ Flame Arrival Ceremony. “The highlight of my 14 years at the games is the torch run. Not many get picked, and I was really surprised and happy that I was able to represent New Mexico. It is like the high point of my journey and a real honor to be able to do it in my home state,” Phil says.
Story and photo by Hayley Estrada
Cycling Away from Diabetes
To Simeon Gipson, a Cherokee/Choctaw from Tahlequah, Okla., cycling is more than just a race, it’s a means of life. When Simeon retired 10 years ago, he was in poor shape, describing himself as overweight at about 250 lbs., struggling with diabetes and on two heart medications. Shortly thereafter, he decided he needed a change and told his son he wanted to start exercising. About a week after that declaration, his son brought him a well-made bicycle.
The rest is history. Now, at age 73, Simeon is known as “the guy who rides a bicycle all over eastern Oklahoma.” He smiles when he says he aims to bike between 20 and 80 miles every day, weather permitting. This biking enthusiast is now in much better health, having lost about 80 lbs., and taking only aspirin for occasional pain. Simeon says he can live a normal life without being controlled by diabetes.
“I can eat what I want to, I can do what I want to and live the way I want to,” he says with enthusiasm. “But say, today, if I eat too much I know tomorrow, I’m going to have to ride another hour to take care of yesterday’s food.”
While Simeon loves to race, he admits that he is not very fast and usually ends up somewhere in a middle ranking. But, winning the race is not everything for Simeon.
“I’ll probably never get a ribbon,” he says with a content tone and a smile. “But, because I’m cycling for my health, I’ll always be a winner.”
Simeon loves to take part in benefit rides, about two a year. He says he especially likes cycling in the diabetes fundraisers since he is fighting diabetes himself. Simeon also says when he was a little boy he suffered from Polio and had difficulty walking, so his older brother would carry him.
Simeon gave thanks to the Cherokee Nation Tribal Headquarters in Oklahoma, the Humana Hand Up Scholarship Award and his son for making it financially possible for him to travel and attend the 2019 National Senior Games presented by Humana.
Story and photo by Seairra Sheppard
National Senior Games Veteran Returns After Setback
Massachusetts volleyball player Charlotte Marden, 74, made her return to the court after being diagnosed with thyroid cancer two years ago that prevented her from attending The Games in 2017.
The illness caused Charlotte’s vocal cords to weaken, which resulted in impaired speech, but she’s back and ready to compete for a medal this year at the 2019 National Senior Games presented by Humana
Charlotte hasn’t played in two years due to the illness. She’s unsure about her participation in the women’s 70+ volleyball tournament. Her play will be determined on how she feels, but she’s in uniform and ready to play. Whether she ends up playing or not, she’ll be there in uniform supporting and cheering on her teammates.
“After not being able to attend the National Senior Games two years ago, I’m glad to be back to support my team,” she gratefully says. Determination and taking each day one at a time is what has kept me going.”
Charlotte has been coming to The Games for more than 15 years, going back to 2003 in Hampton Roads, Virginia, just a couple years after discovering her passion for volleyball.
“I always played in very competitive sports like fast pitch softball, but in 2001 that changed to volleyball,” she explains. “My sister-in-law invited me to her volleyball practice and I’ve been playing ever since.” Back home, Charlotte has played with the same group of individuals she met that day and plans continue for as long as she can.
Like many visiting athletes, Charlotte has been taken by The Land of Enchantment. “This is my first time being in New Mexico and I love how beautiful it is,” she expresses. “I’ve visited the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, went sightseeing in Madrid and explored Old Town in Albuquerque which was my favorite.”
Story and photo by Christina Fitzsimmons
Double Trouble: Houston Siblings Hit the Tennis Courts
The 2019 National Senior Games presented by Humana is bringing together not only competitors, but siblings, too.
Jamie Houston, of South Carolina, and Maura Houston, of Arizona, are both avid tennis players, but rarely get the opportunity to play together. Jamie, who is a Personal Best featured athlete in 2013, has been to The Games seven times. This is Maura’s first.
“We’ve been trying to do this for several years,” says Maura, “I love my brother like crazy and we don’t get to spend that much time together.”
Jamie, a retired army Colonel, and Maura, a retiree as well, first played tennis together in Las Vegas five years ago, while Maura was recovering from cancer. Jamie had been playing since he was a child, but Maura only began in her 40s. Maura says it took her so long to start because when she was younger she was too small to play.
“I was too little to play and had to chase the balls, so I didn’t care for tennis very much,” says Maura.
Jamie is known for starting a tennis team while stationed at Ft. Jackson in Columbia, S.C. He keeps up with tennis in retirement by playing in leagues, attending periodic clinics and lessons, and practicing three times a week. Maura says she practices three times a week as well.
Jamie asserts Maura is the more proficient player. “She’s better than I am. I wanted to match her skills,” he claims.
Their favorite part of the Games is being on the court together, and Jamie thinks their sibling status provides a competitive edge.
“We’re playing as a team, brothers and sisters,” says Jamie.
The Houston’s won their first doubles match 9-7, and will play in hopes of advancing tomorrow before moving into singles matches later in the week.
Story and photo by Gabrielle Hockstra-Johnson
Get Your Gear at The Games!
Enjoy your National Senior Games experience now and into the future!
Bring home a wearable memory that tells everyone else you are a proud senior athlete with cool gear from the NSGA Merchandise Store located in The Village, with satellite stations located at many of the larger sport venues for your convenience.
There’s a wide array of items and designs to choose from, and you can customize them with sport-specific emblems and other images placed to your liking and imprinted on the spot.