"Roll Playing" May 2016 Athlete of the Month

Jerry Lindsay, 79 Las Vegas, Nevada

Sooner or later, Jerry Lindsay finds himself in the middle of the action. “I’ve always been blessed with the ability to make friends and get along with people,” he tells us. “I guess it comes naturally to me.”

The Los Angeles native, who as a youth ran track and played football in high school, earned a scholarship to Pepperdine University, and worked his way to high level positions during a 32-year career with the US Postal Service, also admits to having a competitive nature.

These two qualities would eventually lead to acting opportunities in television and movies, and also into involvement in Senior Games bowling. In a way, one lead to the other.

After retiring and moving to Las Vegas, Jerry took an acting class at a recreation center and gained experience on local stages and doing extra work on films. His big break came when he won a role playing the preacher who marries Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher in the 2008 hit comedy What Happens in Vegas. His scene, which is highlighted during the credits and included in the film trailer, was a favorite of the director due to Jerry’s ad libs. “They had in mind that I would play that part like a Southern Baptist preacher, but I took on a Jamaican-British style accent and they loved it.” He has also appeared in 2007’s Rocky Balboa, some episodes of NCIS Las Vegas and other extra work. “If you watch closely, you might catch me in a crowd in the next Jason Bourne movie.”

How did this lead to Senior Games? While he was taking the acting class he noticed a flyer on the wall about the Nevada Senior Games. “My first year, in 2006, I did the 50 yard and 100 yard dash. It was a photo finish on the 50, but I did win the 100. However, the next year, I pulled a hamstring before the games and could barely walk, so I decided to do something lower impact.” Jerry and his wife Nannette had earlier joined their church bowling league “as a chance to expand our social circle, and also to do something that would keep us on a healthy trend.” The Nevada Senior Games provided the same benefits.

In 2008, Jerry convinced Don Jordan, his lifelong friend of 69 years, to join him for doubles play. Don, who now lives in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, has teamed up with Jerry each year in Las Vegas, and the two met at National Senior Games in 2009 and 2015. There was some drama in Minnesota last year when Don started having chest pains. “He tried to hang in, but he felt he should fly home. On the same day I shared a silver medal in mixed doubles with Winnie Thierry, Don had heart surgery. But he’s doing better and is looking forward to coming out to bowl with me again in September.”

Nannette also bowls in The Games, but Jerry doesn’t pair up with his wife. “She’s quite a bit younger and better, and I would have to go way back down to bowl at her age group,” he says. “Bowling teaches you humility. You think you’re getting good and then all of the sudden you flop. There’s always ways to do better. But there’s also the social side of bowling. You meet people and have fun.”

Jerry’s people skills made him a natural to serve as Nevada Senior Game’s bowling coordinator for the past five years. This year, he was elected to their board and now serves as its VP. Looking ahead to qualifying, Jerry jokes, “All I have to do is beat some of these great bowlers I’ve recruited over the past year. I might be doing a better job than I need to.”

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