Personal Best Feature: Reversed Roles
Our next athlete feature highlights the 2023 theme “Bridging Champions Through the Ages” which shows the intergenerational impact of Senior Games. Jody Smith was a standout high school and college basketball star and was excited to find that she could still play ball at 61. Her 28-year-old daughter Kylee also had a college basketball career and played internationally for several years. In our feature “Reversed Roles” Kylee talks about now being the one in the stands cheering and coaching her mom, and how her parents instilled motivation in her. Enjoy!
Early Entry Discount, Softball Registration End March 28th
Are you registered yet? If not, please remember that the Early Entry Discount for all events will no longer be available after Tuesday, March 28. Sign up now and save!
SOFTBALL: There are now over 95 teams registered for the 2023 National Senior Games Softball Tournament presented by Humana coming to the Berliner Sports Complex May 3-7 in Columbus, Ohio. Athletes, get ready for the celebration event on Friday, May 5! Please remember that Softball’s Final Registration deadline is also Tuesday, March 28.
‘Open Entry Parameter’ Registration For All Begins March 30th
Because some states could not stage all of their qualifying events for the 2023 Games, NSGA is offering an “open entry parameter” for the final month of registration; after qualified athletes have had ample time to register. It also opens a rare window for any senior athlete curious about Senior Games to participate.
Under this adjustment, anyone age 50+ as of December 31, 2022, is eligible to enter any of the 20 sports being offered provided that the event has not reached registration capacity. The Open Entry Parameter begins March 30th and ends with the close of all registration on May 2nd. Complete information and online registration are available at NSGA.com/Registration.
“Required qualification is a unique and important aspect of our Games, but as with all other events, our entire network of 52 state and affiliate member games was deeply impacted by the pandemic,” said NSGA Interim CEO, Sue Hlavacek. “Offering this opening ensures that none of our past athletes will be left out, and it’s also an opportunity for new athletes to compete who may not have heard about us, particularly people who live in close proximity of The Games.”
Venue Spotlight: Golf
Golfers will find great competition at the three courses selected for National Senior Games play. Course age division assignments will be posted soon on the Golf Sport page.
The Montour Heights Country Club Golf Course – is a private, 18-hole championship golf course that stretches across 6,632 yards from the Black Tees. It’s the only Pete Dye Design Golf Course in western Pennsylvania. From its rolling hills to its green complexes, it is truly a one-of-a-kind golf experience every time, mixing traditional southwestern Pennsylvania golf terrain with the signature style of Pete Dye.
Quicksilver Golf Club – was founded in 1988 and is a former host of the PGA Senior Tour. With generous fairways, receptive greens and the best course conditions in Western Pennsylvania, Quicksilver Golf Course is impeccably maintained and is only 30 minutes from Downtown Pittsburgh and 7 minutes from Pittsburgh International Airport.
Shadow Lakes Country Club – The Club at Shadow Lakes sprawls across lush, rolling hills, sprinkled with pristine woodlands. The course is challenging with not only the trees and hills coming into play, but water hazards and strategically placed sand traps as well. It is a layout that rewards accuracy off the tees over distance. Golfers will have to strategize and shape their shots in a variety of ways on this tough golf course.
Wrapped in rivers, intertwined with trails and packed with parks, Pittsburgh is not only green in a sense of scenery. From ongoing modernization efforts at Pittsburgh International Airport to various attractions, restaurants, shops and more, the region’s commitment to the environment is profound.
Pittsburgh is incredibly walkable with more than 180 miles of trails throughout the nine Allegheny County Parks, 700+ public stairways and numerous walkable bridges, making it easier than ever to take to the streets to experience Pittsburgh’s natural beauty, unique terrain and diverse offerings at every turn.
Western Pennsylvania also has become one of the nation’s best examples of rails-to-trails conversion, with hundreds of miles of rail trails, including the Great Allegheny Passage, which links Pittsburgh with Washington, D.C., and stands out as one of the country’s great trail systems.
Plus, did you know that Pittsburgh ranks among the top cities in the United States for green-certified building space? There’s even a self-guided walking tour dedicated to spotlighting them!
Beyond trails and parks, many area businesses and must-see Only in Pittsburgh attractions embody the region’s commitment to the environment, like the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens’ Center for Sustainable Landscapes, the Heinz History Center, Pittsburgh Glass Center and the David L. Lawrence Convention Center (DLCC).
After getting your fill of Only in Pittsburgh attractions, sustainably minded travelers won’t have any trouble finding a place to relax and have a drink or grab a bite to eat. From vegan, vegetarian or locally-sourced options to sustainably-produced craft beverages, popular sustainable dining options include Bridges & Bourbon, ShuBrew, The Porch at Schenley, Burgh’ers Brewing and more. For dessert, try Leona’s Super Premium Ice Cream or Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream. Need a boost? Grab bird-friendly, artisan coffee from Redstart Roasters.
For additional relaxation, visit The Pittsburgh Center for Complementary Health and Healing, an award-winning environmentally friendly wellness spa dedicated to peace and relaxation.
Prefer to shop until you drop? From traditional thrift shops and vintage gems to upcycled materials, Pittsburgh has a variety of businesses to satisfy those looking to take home a sustainable memento to remember their trip. WOC-owned Knotzland Bowties creates low-waste, high-fashion bowties and other sustainable treasures by recycling textile discards. Hey Betty! Vintage Clothing is a popular vintage store with an ever-changing assortment that receives regular visits from actors and costume designers filming in the Pittsburgh area, including Oscar winner Frances McDormand, Robert Downey Jr., Dakota Fanning and more.
Learn more at VisitPITTSBURGH.com.
MARCH ATHLETE OF THE MONTH
Paula Franetti, 67
The Driving Force of Positivity
By Del Moon
To see Paula Franetti mixing it up in women’s basketball competition at the National Senior Games last year, we marveled that the Pittsburgh native had worked her way back to a fully active life after a horrific car crash.
In September 2016 Paula was driving to her Pittsburgh office when she was blindsided by a speeding driver who ran the light. The impact was so violent her Honda CRV spun across the road and struck a rowhouse before coming to a rest on the other street. Paula said she felt she had died. “I had no pain,” she says. “I was in a really peaceful place – my car wasn’t even there.”
Paula sustained seven pelvic fractures, five spinal fractures, a collapsed lung caused by a ruptured diaphragm, a punctured bladder, internal bleeding, and a concussion. After three surgical procedures and a stay at a skilled nursing facility, she returned home to a wheelchair and remained on the first floor of her house. It would be 57 days before she could stand up.
There were setbacks as she transferred to a walker and found she had a left knee ligament injury and cartilage tears, bone bruises and microfractures. Another came as she returned to driving and doctors found she had vestibular dysfunction, which affects balance and eye movements. She was also diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder that required psychotherapy treatment. A fourth surgical procedure in late 2017 fixed an issue with her diaphragm.
In her book Driving Force, Paula describes how she overcame her challenges and fears, having an epiphany that she was the only person who could really take the wheel and she had to get back into the driver’s seat. “The steering wheel represents the way for me to regain my wellbeing…I can be the planner, designer and the owner of whatever I want to be in this new reality,” she wrote.
Exactly one year after the crash, Paula returned to the scene at her psychologist’s advice and re-enacted going through the intersection, making it safely. “I just knew that I had to conquer this fear,” she recalls.
So exactly how did she think she was able to fully recover? “I think the primary driving force to motivate me was that I have been a positive thinker for as long as I can remember. I always look for the better side of things. My sports background taught me discipline, teamwork and having a plan for how to train and when to peak. So combining those two gave me an advantage over most people.”
“Everyone assumes that somebody who recovers fully has some magical edge,” she quickly adds. “That type of perspective gets a lot of people into the problem area of giving up. ‘So and So can do it because they’re an athlete but what about me?’ My sports factor of perseverance comes into the picture, but I don’t want people to think that’s the only way people survive. Anyone positively focused on living a fulfilling life can reach any type of remarkable comeback.”
With a master’s degree in exercise physiology and a past career in rehabilitation, it was not a big leap for her to want to help others overcome similar challenges. In 2019 Paula started a health coaching business called The Rebound Planner, helping others plan their recovery and being a support person through their challenges. “I’ve seen people give up prematurely on the rehab side,” she says. “The key is to get people to understand how you think creates what happens in your life. Your body is going to heal regardless of whether you pay attention or not. But combining a positive outlook with a goal to achieve with the timing of your body’s healing factors, that’s where remarkable outcomes can happen.”
Paula, a lifelong sports lover who played basketball at Penn State, is grateful she can continue in National Senior Games and thrilled that her hometown is hosting them again. “I had just turned 50 and could not qualify when Pittsburgh hosted in 2005. But I did volunteer as a first aid assistant for men’s and women’s basketball so I could watch. I met the Butler Cubs team and started competing with them starting in Louisville in 2007. It was just like a dream come true to continue in sports.”
Paula did probably have a fitness background advantage, but is adamant that factor alone would not have gotten her well. “What really got me back was the mentality of wanting to get back. My injuries were such that no one was willing to tell me I would even be able to run again, let along play basketball. It was really up to me.”
What’s YOUR story? To nominate a fellow athlete…CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT A STORY
SENIOR HEALTH & WELL-BEING
Older Adult Sports Performance Training Keys
By Andrew Walker, MPH; Director of Health & Well-Being
Previously I reminded readers that they had time to enter and compete in the 2023 Games and offering suggestions to create a pathway to participation through mentorship or self-enrollment. Now it’s time to consider key aspects of the art and science of older adult sports performance.
Maximizing sport performance in every Senior Games sport is ideally based on a foundation that includes resistance/strength training, cardiovascular training, recovery training and movement/agility training. All these elements rests on the principle that the body will adapt to gradually increasing load or intensity within each of these areas, otherwise known as progressive overload.
Strength training for older adults is essential. My exercise scientist colleagues at IDEA, one of the oldest personal trainer certification organizations, consider resistance training as the most critical element for peak performance, no matter what sport you play. It is recommended that all older athletes participate in a resistance/strength training consisting of at least 2 full body workouts per week for 30 to 60 mins. When time permits, 3 times per week is suggested.
Ideally, the most effective routine consists of 6 – 8 multi-joint exercises done as a circuit or sequence, with each circuit repeated 3 to 4 times. Your first circuit acts as a warm-up. Resistance of any type is good, but free weights provide the advantage of activating the muscles that stabilize your body. Exercises should include squats, lunges, and deadlifts for the lower body. Standing dumbbell curls, rows, and cable exercises round out the upper body routine. See NSGA Videos for examples.
High intensity interval training (HIIT) is regarded as the most efficient workout for endurance training for most Senior Games sports. Remembering to apply the principles of progressive overload within the HITT program where intervals in time and/or intensity are mindfully adjusted. A detailed HITT program can be found at this link.
Many Senior Game sports include multi-dimension movement, making it important to develop agility, mobility and power in many directions. This is especially true of sports that include lateral movements, jumping, throwing and multi-directional power movements. Effective routines include using agility ladders, medicine ball throws, pushing exercises and plyometric movements which can be included as part of a day’s routine.
It’s especially important that older adult athletes pay attention to recovery. Hormonal changes that come with aging requires us to monitor our response to intense workouts. Rest between workout sessions is essential so that our body is allowed to adapt to demands we create as we apply progressive overloads with increased intensity, speed, and resistance.
The science of exercise shows that older adults in all Senior Games sports will enhance performance by including resistance training, cardiovascular HITT work, multi-directional movement, and attending to our recovery needs. Mindfully applying these key principles of science will surely improve your performance for the 2023 Games.
4 Bladder Control Exercises for Women
The following information is being provided to you by our partner, Because Market.
Urinary incontinence (UI) is a challenge for over a third of older adults, so if you live with UI, you are not alone. Knowledge about UI is increasing, but despite how common it is, there is still a damaging stigma around this challenge.
If you live with UI, it can also become a challenge to feel in control of your own life. However, there are exercises and tips to help you regain this control and get back to doing the things you love! This guide will help you understand your pelvic floor muscles and how bladder exercises can help you regain strength in these muscles and control your bladder. CLICK HERE for the complete article with detailed exercises.
To get your FREE Because Starter Pack, visit this link exclusively for NSGA Members: www.BecauseMarket.com/NSGA.
Are you interested in being sponsored for the games?
Our partner, Because Market, is offering five $500 scholarships to athletes who are participating in the games this year. If you’re interested in applying, please take a look at the details in the form below and complete/submit by Friday, April 7, 2023.
NSG OFFICIAL APPAREL
2023 National Senior Games Merchandise Available Online!
2023 National Senior Games merchandise is available from the NSGA Online Store. You can also check out 2023 Softball Championship apparel and limited items from the 2022 Games!
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