ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (FOX 13) - There is one motto Dean Refakes chooses to live his life by: "If you argue for your limitations, they become a reality."
Pickleball is Dean's escape from reality.
There have been so many times during his 71 years when he could have easily given up. Dean has suffered setbacks since day one.
He was born with spina bifida and scoliosis. Later in life, he broke his femur bone in a car accident and survived prostate cancer. He's suffered several other ailments, as well.
"If you're going to sit there and complain about your status in life, or your status during a competition, you're going to lose!" he said.
Dean grew up playing football, basketball and baseball. He picked up tennis later in life, and now he's all about pickleball.
"It's a very quick game. There's a lot of nuances to the game and subtleties you also have to be aware of," he explained. "It's cerebral as well as physical. You have to have some skill. The great thing is, anybody can play it."
Dean is a natural born competitor. It wasn't long after he was introduced to pickleball a few years ago, that he was competing in the Senior Games. In 2017, he was a gold medalist in the sport and last year, he won the silver medal.
"It's great to play and compete. It's also great to win!"
"There's nothing greater when you're behind in a contest, to come back and win," he continued. "It teaches you to persevere and never give up. I apply that to life."
Dean is winning: On the court and in life.
He will again compete in pickleball during the Senior Games later this year.