PE Students Need Senior Citizen Role-Models

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One of the primary goals of any physical education program is the development of our students’ ability to maintain an active lifestyle throughout their lives.

I’m the beneficiary of my own school experience in PE and sport. I still play a weekly game of old-man’s basketball – in my old high school gym with some of my old high school schoolmates – in a ritual that has been part of that school since the mid-1960’s. The youngest in our current  group is about 18. But we have two players in their sixties, with the oldest still fast-breaking and hitting the boards at 65. He still has quick feet, a good jump shot and is perhaps the most aggressive player on the floor. We think the pacemaker he had installed three years ago has given him a mechanical advantage.

So, when I heard about Ken Mink, I wasn’t surprised. Ken is a 73-year old grandfather of six, who, after retirement from the newspaper business, realized he had some unfinished business. On the basketball court, that is. In 1956, he was kicked out of junior college for an act of vandalism that he didn’t commit. It seemed to be the end of his basketball career.

But he obviously stayed fit and maintained his skills. So, retired and with time on his hands, he enrolled in some courses at Roane State Community College, in Tennessee, and tried out for the varsity basketball team. His enlightened coach, 50-year old Randy Nesbit, had an interest in the possibilities of athletic performance in older people. He gave Ken a shot, and Ken made the team.

He now plays between five and eight minutes a game, and his opponents don’t take it easy on him. Nobody wants to be the player who let a 73-year old score on him. And in November of 2008, Ken Mink set a Guinness World record, becoming the oldest-ever player in collegiate basketball history to score a point. In fact, he sunk two points, on free throws, after getting fouled while pump-faking an opponent.

And as I’ve pointed out, Ken Mink isn’t the only senior basketball player out there. How about 77-year old Don Morris of San Luis Obispo, California, who shot 84% in the free-throw competition at the recent senior Olympics California state championships, winning a gold medal.  Eighty-four percent! Shaq, give this guy a call.

The point is, students should be made aware of the Ken Minks and Don Morrises of the world, so they know that sport and fitness isn’t just something they do now…it’s something they do for the rest of their lives.

If you want to see some video of Ken Minks and Don Morris, check out the following YouTube links:

Ken Minks – On the Inside Edition

Ken Minks Versus Regis Philbin
(Ken is deadly from 10-15 feet with his set shot).

Don Morris
(Also describes his mental cues for foul-shooting).

Welcome to 2009. I’ll see you in two weeks!

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

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[tags]basketball,physical education,Ken Mink,Don Morris[/tags]

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