Becky Nufer plays volleyball for a team called Served Aces. They just lost their first match in tournament play, so they get some water and immediately start warming up for the next match.
This would be strenuous for anyone, but Nufer is a grandmother.
“Well, I’m 70 and playing on a 55 team.”
“You’re not diving for balls or things like that, are you?”
“If there’s a younger person on the team, I’ll let them do it.”
Volleyball is just one of many events athletes are participating in at this year’s senior games taking place throughout Houston. They’ve come here from all over the country. Nufer is from Arizona. She says she played volleyball back when she was young, but they barely had a girls team.
“Ahh yeah, but they didn’t push girls sports back then. I’m talking about the fifties.”
Art Kent is a spokesman for the senior games. He says you see some of the same athletes year after year in different cities.
“You’ve got a group of people. They’re very competitive and yet they’re good friends with each other. They come to these games as often as they can qualify, because they have a lot of friends who’ve been doing for years too.”
Some of the other sports at the games include table tennis, regular tennis, archery, bowling, softball, cycling and golf. The athletes are all over 50 and Kent says many of them have been playing sports for years.
“These people are all in pretty good shape. The whole concept of the senior games movement is to encourage people to live a healthy active lifestyle.”
“I have no broken bones. Usually I have a black eye and a bunch of bruises. No knee problems or shoulder problems. You see these people running around here with an ice pack here and an ice pack there and braces on their knees. I’ve been fortunate.”
Becky Nufer says she’ll probably keep playing until she dies.
“You’re young. (Laughing with Bill Stamps).”
This week her husband is on a road trip with his biker buddies while she’s in Houston serving up aces. She says having fun is what retirement is all about. Not sitting at home on the couch.
“Oh, definitely, that’s what you’re supposed to do. That’s what I worked so hard for.”
Becky’s team lost that next match. But the team vowed to fight on and win the next one.
For more information, visit the National Senior Games Association.