January 20, 2006
This time of year basketball is one for the biggest sports around town, but for one group of elite senior citizens, they're in a league of their own.
"About three years ago one of the seniors contacted our department and expressed interest in him and some of his friends coming down and playing basketball," said Recreation Supervisor of Charlottesville Parks and Recreation, Mildred Spicer.
What was once a group of four has turned into a group of about 14 players. Every Monday and Thursday at the Downtown Recreation Center Gym, for two hours senior players are shooting hoops.
"Anytime I move it's a workout for me," said senior player George Westerlund, the oldest of the players at a young 74.
For George and the rest of the players, playing a couple of games of basketball is a pretty good workout.
"These guys are all in pretty good shape," said George Dalimonte, the youngest of the players at 59-years-young. "Some old people make the mistake of playing basketball to get in shape; you really need to get in shape before you play basketball."
"It's fun yeah, because I use to play (with another group) until last summer, said Westerlund. "I played with bunch of younger guys, the oldest was 42. I gave up. I couldn't defend them anymore. I could shot, but I couldn't defend."
If you ask any of these guys 'who is the better player?' they're pretty modest.
When senior player Willis Carter was asked if he was the best player, he responded, "Oh no,nono. I'm the worst shooter down here. I'm defensive player and assist man."
Westerlund replied with laughter with a, "No...young guys all around me. They dribble under my legs."
Charlottesville Parks and Recreation planners are organizing more activities for both men and women seniors like golf, lifting weights, volleyball and tennis. If you know a senior who might be interested in getting involved in a few activities, call Charlottesville Parks and Recreation at, 434-970-3592.