The Long Run - August 2018
NSGA HQ has relocated to Clearwater, Florida. Please make note of our new contact information.
Mailing address: P.O. Box 5630, Clearwater FL 33758-5630
Main Phone: (727) 475-1187
Personal Best Heads Northwest for Two Presentations
NSGA took the Personal Best initiative to the road with visits to Washington and Idaho over the past month, generating surprises, high emotions and inspirational moments. Check out our two newest in-depth athlete features and blog entries for details and photos. It's well worth the time to read!
Olympic Surprise in Olympia, Washington!
Father and son senior pole vaulters Chuck and Phil Milliman knew they were being honored with Personal Best recognition at the opening social event for the 2018 Washington State Senior Games. However, the gregarious duo had no idea that a legendary Olympic pole vaulter from the state would ambush them at the ceremony!
Idaho Was No Small Potatoes!
We were greeted in Boise with a handshake and left with a hug. Idaho Senior Games does a great job and we made many friends while honoring Personal Best athlete Dick Johnson and catching some sport action over the next two days. Local media provided significant coverage of our visit to this jewel of a city that has seen explosive growth in recent years.
Age-Specific Sport Schedule is Now Online!
The eagerly anticipated Age-Specific Sport Schedule for The Games in Albuquerque is now available. Please follow the link below to access the downloadable schedule that will tell you when your sport and age division will be playing. Competition details such as brackets, draws, pools, times, etc. will be posted on each sport page about two weeks before the Games open. Schedules may be subject to change.
2019 Housing Link is Now Open
We're pleased to announce that the Travel and Lodging page is open and athletes can begin making hotel reservations now. The online booking system is the same used in 2017 that brought many athlete compliments.
NSGA is fortunate to have National Travel Systems (NTS) as the Official Travel Partner for the 2019 National Senior Games presented by Humana. Their goal is to enhance the overall experience for you, the participant, by offering a variety of discounted hotel options to choose from to best meet your personal needs.
When you book with NTS, you are also assisting us to capture history that will help to obtain great rates and hotels for future events. With NTS you are able to book now, just by guaranteeing the room with a card - no upfront payment needed! Hotel cancellations are at the hotel standard policies. See you in ABQ!
Fewer Qualifying Events Remain - Get Into the Games
/>Summer is moving on and the year has fewer remaining options to qualify for the 2019 National Senior Games presented by Humana. Have you made your plans to get into The Games?
The State Information page at NSGA.com is where you will find a downloadable master calendar, coordinator contact list, and links to find all of our Member Games. Action starting in September is in CA (Encore), GA, IN, KS, KY, NJ and SD. Many other states have events continuing in specific sports, including AR, CN, DE, IL, LA, MD, ME, MI, NH, NV, NM, NC, OK, VT and WI. Each state handles its own registration and games management, so check their web links for complete details on each.
2019 Venue Spotlight: Track and Field
The University of New Mexico Track and Field Complex will be buzzing with activity for the 2019 National Senior Games presented by Humana, hosting all track and field events plus the 1500M Race Walk and 1500 Power Walk. Power Walk is a new medal sport for The Games. The world class training environment and facilities at UNM provide an opportunity for exceptional running and field event performances.
The UMN campus is centrally located in Albuquerque, and the track stadium seats 5,000. The 400-meter Versaturf construction track has eight racing lanes. To bolster performances, sprints can be run in either direction to mitigate the effects of unfavorable weather. The two jumps runways, two pole vault runways and a high jump apron are also of Versaturf construction.
Your (Sandia) Peak Experience is Waiting
The 2.7-mile ascent on the Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway to the peak of the Sandia Mountains is a thrilling, can't-miss attraction. At night, the city lights below sparkle like a million jewels.
The tram transports you above deep canyons and breathtaking terrain, where you can see nature's dramatic beauty unfold. At sunset, the desert skies produce a spectacular array of color from the observation deck and an 11,000 square-mile panoramic view of the "Land of Enchantment." After your tram ride, stop by Sandiago's Grill for a delicious meal and margarita.
August Athlete of the Month
The Old College Try
An often-heard joke among senior athletes after a good performance is, "Too bad you don't have any college eligibility left." Of course, no one takes it seriously, right?
Basketballer Ken Mink did, setting a most unique sports record in the process. Ten years ago, at the age of 73, the longtime Senior Games participant stepped on the court with his Roane State Raiders team and became the world's oldest college basketball player in history. The record still stands.
A misunderstanding made this unlikely feat possible. In 1956, while playing on his college team at Lees Junior College in Jackson, Kentucky, Ken was unjustly accused of being the perpetrator of a prank on his coach and he was expelled from school. 50 years later and living in Knoxville, he got the urge to try to return to college basketball as a septuagenarian to finish his last year of eligibility.
Incredibly, he enrolled at Roane State College in nearby Harriman and made the team, playing in seven games and scoring free throws and baskets in three, which set several world records. Ken attracted international publicity, such as this ESPN Outside The Lines feature that recounts the history and validates his innocence.
The news stories and TV talk show appearances were not the only highlights of this experience, as Ken came to appreciate being a senior role model. "As I was traveling with my Roane State team hundreds of elderly basketball fans told me they had been inspired by my performance at my age and said they were going to become more active in their own lives."
In recent years, Ken started a nonprofit called Get Up and Go and obtained funding to perform halftime skills exhibitions at college and high school basketball games, including the University of Tennessee, Tennessee Tech and King University. "I demonstrate dribbling, shooting, and passing, doing things that are out of the norm for people my age," Ken says. "It's gone well. I've gotten standing ovations at every one of them."
Ken keeps active practicing and competing with a senior basketball team in Knoxville and golfs on a regular basis and has won more than a dozen gold medals in Senior Games basketball, golf and track. His name might also be recognized for a professional career spanning 50 years as a journalist and author of 23 books, including The Ken Mink Story which recounts his experiences. Ken has retired from full-time newspaper work but is still a prolific writer focusing on travel and golf subjects, including editing The Traveling Adventurer magazine and being part of the Golf Travel Writers of America providing regional, national and international features.
You might think that's the end of this story, but there's more. Ken has signed with a Hollywood producer and given his blessing for a movie based on his life. "They sent me a nice check for using my story, the script is written, and they have hired a director," the Hazard (Vicco), Kentucky native says. "The working title is Bucket and they say it should be completed within a year."
We've glad that Ken has included Senior Games in his still-busy schedule. "It's a great way for older Americans to compete in many sports," he observes. "I just want to show people they don't have to be anchored to a couch nor do they need to have my capabilities. Seniors can start slowly and set goals to build up to a great exercise regimen. After all, when you reach my age, every year you are on earth is an accomplishment in itself!"
We want to hear more great stories! To submit yours, or to nominate a fellow athlete who inspires you, Please Click Here.
Social Media: Like Us? Make Sure You Really "LIKE" Us
NSGA's social media platforms on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (@seniorgames1) have become powerful and cost-effective promotional tools to spread the word about the Senior Games Movement. YOU can help us reach more people by simply liking our page and also liking, commenting and sharing with our Facebook and Instagram posts. Liking and replying or retweeting us on Twitter has the same boosting effect. By interacting with our pages, it also tells them that you want to see more of the same content from National Senior Games. So, like, do it!
Senior Health and Wellness
SAFE Program Serves Athletes, Provides Helpful Fitness Research
The Senior Athlete Fitness Exam (SAFE), which began at The National Senior Games in Houston in 2011, measures the fitness level of athletes and provides a comprehensive overview of components critical to health promotion and injury prevention. This includes cardiovascular risk, strength, flexibility, and balance. SAFE, under the direction of the National Senior Games Foundation, is unique as it specifically caters to senior athletes and uses results from other athletes of the same age groups for comparison.
Since 2011, SAFE has been offered at both National Senior Games and at selected state level games. If you were one of the more than 800 athletes who participated at The Games in Birmingham last year, you were sent a "report card" shortly thereafter with your immediate results and recommendations. For those who requested detailed results and strategies for improvement, that email should have arrived over the past two weeks. If you didn't make this request, but still wish to receive your results, please e-mail Dr. Becca Jordre at [email protected]
The results of testing in Birmingham show that athletes demonstrate superb exercise habits, and that most are intrinsically motivated to do so. Last year, the average participant logged 5.5 hours of cardiovascular exercise and one hour strength training per week. This surpasses the exercise guidelines set forth by the American College of Sports Medicine and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Most importantly, SAFE data found that senior athletes suffered significantly lower rates of cardiovascular disease and a rate of Diabetes that was 80% lower than the general population. Strength findings demonstrated that male senior athletes were 15-25% stronger and female senior athletes were 20-35% stronger than their non-athletic peers. Senior athlete posture was 75% better than the general population, and scores for flexibility were superior for each area tested. Further, senior athletes are continuing to demonstrate balance scores that exceed those found in the general population with annual falls rates that are 67% lower. This translates to an anticipated higher quality of life and lower mortality rates. These are numbers to be proud of!
Jordre (the creator of the SAFE), the NSG Foundation, and NSGA staff will facilitate the return of SAFE at the 2019 National Senior Games presented by Humana. She is coordinating with physical therapists in Albuquerque to prepare for this, including submission of a health promotion grant through the American Physical Therapy Association. "This is an amazing population of motivated and healthy older adults whose health preservation is often overlooked by our healthcare system," Jordre explains.
Several member qualifying Games are again offering SAFE screenings, including at the National Veterans Golden Age Games recently held in Albuquerque. Two hundred and thirty athletes were also screened during the New Mexico Senior Olympics held in the Host City for The Games in 2019. Contact your state coordinator to find out if SAFE is offered during your Games this year.
Finally, in September NSGA will be participating in National Falls Prevention Awareness Day advocacy. The next newsletter will address specific balance results from SAFE research and offer ways to preserve balance and prevent falls associated with aging.
Contest Reminder: Tell Us "How Are You Aging with a New Attitude?"
NSGA and 2019 Flame Arrival Ceremony Sponsor SmartyPants Vitamins want to hear how senior athletes are "Aging With a New Attitude." Tell us your answer in 100 words or less using the link below to our easy online form. Five winners will receive a SmartyPants prize package including a three-month supply of vitamin products and other goodies. Deadline to enter is September 30, 2018. Winning entries will be shared on the NSGA.com webpage and in social media later this year.
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