Age Is Just The Number On Your Jersey
Dick Anderson brings sports to seniors with Minnesota Senior Sports Association.
Anyone can be an athlete. That’s the sentiment that Minnesota Senior Sports Association has used to build the organization that has been putting seniors on courts and fields that many haven’t stepped foot on since their youth. By honoring and celebrating senior athletes, MSSA is shedding light on the fact that anyone can be an athlete… regardless of age.
MSSA President Dick Anderson says he has always been involved in senior softball, which is what sparked his interest in creating an organization for other seniors to get involved in sports, too. Five years ago, he and his friend and athlete Bob MacNamara founded MSSA to honor seniors who are active in sports after age 50.
“We do an annual banquet in the spring and a golf outing in the fall, and it’s a 100 percent volunteer organization, not one penny goes to directors,” Anderson says. “We usually honor eight to ten individuals at these events, and we have honored men’s and women’s teams, as well as individuals.”
Anderson says MSSA has honored more men than women because many senior women grew up without the facilities and resources that men had to be able to participate in sports. Athletes have been honored in swimming, diving, track, softball, hockey, and even ping pong.
“We advocate for participation in sports, individual or team, after age 50 and award them for doing outstanding things statewide and nationally,” Anderson says. “Last year, we had one guy who was 95 and from Duluth who still plays hockey every day with a crowd of young guys.”
Anderson says they’re always looking for new applicants and encourage all seniors to apply. As long as you’re able to play, you can apply, he says.
Though no other sports organizations are directly involved in MSSA, Anderson says they help seniors get involved with outside sports organizations and teams. They encourage seniors to keep up with sports they once played, try a new sport, or look into information about local leagues. He says they often advertise local sports teams on their website to inform seniors of new opportunities.
“Go to our website if you don’t know what is available, and if you have questions, you can try to connect with us, and we can get you connected with local teams,” Anderson says. “If you’re a senior who hasn’t played sports but is interested in possibly picking one up now, I recommend that you just call your local recreational center. They can usually point you in the direction of other groups of seniors who you can get involved with and participate in sports where you might feel more comfortable.”
Anderson says it’s important to stay active as a senior, and sports leagues, teams, or even individual sports like tennis are a great way to do that. With the help of MSSA, more seniors are playing sports comfortably and confidently. Wear your age—and your jersey—proudly!
For more information about MSSA, visit mnseniorsports.com.