Personal Best Tour Visits New Mexico and New Jersey
If you follow the “National Senior Games” page on Facebook, this photo of 94 year old cyclist Larry Johnson standing on his head is familiar. Johnson astounded nearly 1,200 attendees to the New Mexico Conference on Aging opening plenary session by showing what is possible if you take care of yourself and exercise. View theKOAT-TV feature about Larry here. New Mexico Senior Olympics and NSGA had a major presence at the conference, and it afforded an opportunity to invite Shellie Pfohl with the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition to join us and to conduct a fact finding workshop about senior fitness.
Our next Personal Best visit took place September 6, at the opening ceremony of the New Jersey Senior Olympics. While making our presentation to gregarious senior athlete Irma DeMarzo, we discovered an enthusiastic pulse running through the entire games, its athletes and volunteers. Part of the reason is Woodbridge’s larger-than-life Mayor John McCormac, who embraced hosting the state games eight years ago and personally participates in many sports. He seemed to be everywhere.
We met many colorful characters during our visits, and you can read about them and view more photos in our tour blog entries on the Personal Best Page. If you haven’t read the inspiring Class of 2014 athlete profiles, you owe it to yourself to get to know them and share their stories with your friends.
2015 Age Division/Event Specific Sports Schedule is Now Available
We’re pleased to announce that the 2015 Competition Schedule at NSGA.com has now been updated to include a detailed Age Division/Event Specific Sports Schedule to assist with your planning. Please note that the competition schedule is subject to change based on the final athlete registration numbers.
We’ve worked very hard to produce the best possible schedule and make it available at an earlier date than previously accomplished in the past. Kudos to Sue Hlavacek and everyone involved for their effort and teamwork!
2015 Competition Schedule Page
2015 Venue Snapshot: Tennis
The Baseline Tennis Center at the University of Minnesota has everything needed to host tennis action for the 2015 National Senior Games Presented by Humana. Located just a few minutes from downtown Minneapolis, the home of Golden Gopher Tennis was opened in 2002 and is considered one of the premier collegiate tennis venues in the country. It features 22 courts, 10 inside and 12 outside. The air-conditioned indoor courts have 30 foot ceilings and an elevated seating gallery for optimum viewing. The courts have a plexi-type of pavement that provides more cushion than typical hard courts. The softer surface is designed to prevent injuries by causing less stress on the athletes’ knees and other joints.
Bloomington, Minneapolis and St. Paul are offering their best venues for you!
NSGA Making Record Visits to State Games
As part of our commitment to have closer ties to our members and athletes, NSGA staff have visited more state games over the past 18 months than any similar time in our history. “Our states are the backbone of the Senior Games Movement, and we want to show our support in meaningful ways,” CEO Marc T. Riker explains. “There’s no better way for our team to learn about best practices, get feedback from athletes and to share our advice and encouragement than to physically be there. It’s been enlightening and enjoyable to see and feel the energy at state games.”
This month we have already visited New Jersey and Kentucky, and in coming weeks NSGA staff members will be present at qualifying games in Illinois, Georgia, and Utah.
Remaining State Qualifying Games
Speaking of state games, October’s calendar offers qualifying competition in DE,KS,LA,ME,NV,NM and UT. November will see action in California and Hawaii, and our final qualifier will be the Florida International Senior Games in December. Don’t miss out! Visit our State Information page to search for event and sports details and registration links for the state(s) you are interested in. Find the state icon, click and GO!
HUMANA Heroes: Athlete of the Month
Return of the Gladiator
People tell 55 year old Lorraine Lewis she should write a book about her life. After all, it’s not everyone who has been an American Gladiators champion. She’s started the book, but is too busy living life to finish it. Her latest chapter is this year’s triumphant return to athletic competition by qualifying in triathlon for the 2015 National Senior Games Presented by Humana.
As a gifted athletic youth in San Gabriel, California, Lorraine competed in multiple sports. “But when I got to high school there was no girls’ track and cross country, so the coach let me onto the boys’ teams. While I was running with them people would say I should try out for the Olympics, but my mom wasn’t into sports and told me I was on my own.” She kept the dream alive by joining the Montebello Track Club and racing in AAU events. When she got married and began building an eventual family of seven children, sports were put on hold. “But I never got that desire to compete out of my head.”
18 years ago, the desire resurfaced when she decided to get back in shape and was accepted to be in the iconic CBS TV series American Gladiators. Given the circumstances the day she competed, Lorraine wonders how she managed to win. “I was at my mother’s house and had just put dye on my hair. But they gave me the wrong time to report and I got a call that I was already supposed to be there. I threw myself together and rushed out with my kids and my mom following behind. It was crazy with bumper to bumper traffic and people crowding around the studio. A crew member ran up and took care of my car and the kids and said ‘grab your gear and follow that guy!’ They ran me all the way into the arena.”
Not only did she compose herself and win, she was asked to return two years later with then 12 year old son Jason for a special American Gladiators show pitting them against another mother and son team. “We won that one – it was special to share that experience with him.”
In the passing years Lorraine, now a real estate agent residing in San Tan Valley, Arizona, strayed off the athletic track again and narrowly survived a bout with cervical cancer and radical surgery in 2003. When a screening revealed it came back four years ago, she chose a new path. “Instead of going mainstream medicine, I did a lot of research and changed everything – my stress level, my eating habits, exercise and so on. When I went back in eight months later, they couldn’t find the cancer, and I’ve been clean ever since.
“After I watched a documentary called Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, I went on a plant based diet and it changed the way my whole family eats. My son had high blood pressure and other problems and doesn’t have them anymore.” Lorraine now does speaking engagements and hosts groups in her home to demonstrate how to prepare healthy meals. “It’s taken me years to gather great recipes that taste out of this world, and that will make you-and even your kids-want to transition away from the ‘garbage food’ and eat all the time. It doesn’t have to be all carrots and celery to eat healthy.”
When she heard about the National Senior Games, Lorraine decided it was time to set new goals. With regular exercise and training, she lost 70 pounds and regained her form. The reward was a Silver Medal in the Idaho Senior Games triathlon qualifier and a ticket to Minnesota and national competition next year.
“I hadn’t done a triathlon in nearly 20 years. For me it’s life changing. I could have stayed on the road I was on. To get healthy and back in shape -there’s just no other feeling like it!”
We’re always looking for great athlete stories. Submit yours or nominate a fellow athlete who inspires you at our Athlete of the Month page at NSGA.com!
Senior Health and Wellness
Fitness Tips for Seniors
While there are plenty of common misconceptions arguing against the idea of exercise for senior citizens, these faux-pas should never stop you or your loved ones from staying active. In addition to helping maintain weight, exercise is particularly important for seniors for numerous reasons, which range from ensuring heart health, strong bones, and a clear head.
Care management expert Claudia Fine, LCSW, MPH, CCM and SeniorBridge’s Chief of Professional Services has gathered some of the easiest, yet most effective, ways that seniors can stay fit. Click below to read her tips, and share with your friends who may not be as active as you are.
NSGA Online Merchandise Store
Got your “Gettin’ Fit for 2015” T Shirt Yet?
Be the proud owner of the first T shirt featuring the logo for the 2015 National Senior Games Presented by Humana. Show everyone that you are a senior athlete and have your sights set on Minnesota for next July!
Of course you can always select NSGA images to place on a high quality tee shirt, hat, windbreaker, hoodie or long sleeve tee shirt in your choice of color and graphic.
Visit The NSGA Store at NSGA.com to get yours.