Senior Olympians keep on playing

July 22, 2011 • Local News

Back row, from left: Larry [auth] Martin, Robert Willis, Jack Batson and Terry Cleveland. Front row, from left: Charlie Martin and Everett Lankford.

Local senior athletes did Chaves County proud at the 2011 Summer National Senior Games in Houston, last month. Many of the seniors have experience with the competitiveness and exhilaration of playing sports from when they were in high school and/or college.

Today, several of these seasoned seniors go to state or national games and bring home medals. Only two locals, however, can say they have competed and won as a fatherson team.

Shuf fleboard players Charlie Martin and his son Larry Martin received top recognition at the national games.

Charlie Martin, 95, placed second in singles shuffleboard, and Larry also placed second in singles shuffleboard in his age group. The Martins placed sixth when they teamed up to play doubles shuffleboard.

“If we win, we get a medal. If we don’t, we just have fun,” said Larry Martin. His father was captain of the NMMI football team and ran track.

He graduated from NMMI in 1939. Ironically, it was Charlie Martin who taught his greatest senior games rival how to play shuffleboard. Everett Lankford placed first in singles shuf fleboard. Like Charlie Martin, Lankford was also an athlete in school — he played basketball at Hagerman High and New Mexico State University.

“I’ve enjoyed it,” Lankford says of his involvement with the senior games. Richard Fontaine, also an accomplished shuffleboard player, said the best part of the senior games is the people he gets to meet. “I think we ought to get a lot more people involved,” Fontaine said. “Age doesn’t matter, as long as you can feel the urge to play.” Anne Huff, another senior athlete, concurred.

“To me, what it’s all about, (is meeting) people from all over New Mexico I wouldn’t meet otherwise,” she said of the senior games.

Anne Huff’s daughter, Sara Hall, is recreation leader at the Roswell Adult Center, where the senior athletes practice. Huff and Hall have taken the Martins’ lead and have decided to participate together in the senior games.

“You don’t quit playing because you get old,” Hall said. “You get old because you quit playing.” For more information on how to get involved with the senior games, call the Roswell Adult Center at 624-6718.

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