Florida Senior Games gives athletic elders chance to relive glory days

Basketball has always been a part of Harry Carothers' life. 

"I've been playing basketball all my life," he explained. "Initially I played high school ball. Once I got in the Air Force I played a lot of basketball, and after retirement, I continued to play a lot, so I really never quit."

All of that time spent on the basketball court was more than just a pass time, it was his passion. However, his most competitive playing time began after he turned 55 when he found out about the Florida Senior Games.

"I moved to this area in the mid-90s," recalled Carothers. "I was at a basketball shooting contest over in Tampa and I met a fellow that was putting a team together called the Clearwater Aces. I was 55 at that time."

That was a new start in Carothers life as a rising star in the Florida Senior Games basketball community. 

"The way senior games is set up, it begins at age 50 and you only compete against people in your own age group every five years," he said. "The competition is fun, I've been competing in state tournaments now since 1998."

READ  ‘I want to skydive’: Venice grandmother, 96, takes leap of faith in honor of late grandson

He's as driven as any NBA athlete practicing and working out to make sure that his shot quality doesn't drop off.

"I play basketball three times a week," he said of his routine. "We're playing at the Long Center now."

He and his team practice regularly, playing half-court games so they can stay sharp for the Florida Senior Games qualifying rounds.

READ: 'I always wanted to dance': Bay Area woman fulfills lifelong dream of being a ballerina at age 76

"I've got over 60 state championship medals. We've been fortunate, we've won a lot," he admitted.

He turns 79 this year, and while winning is great, the true reason he's out on the basketball court isn't for the next medal or the next trophy.

"I find that basketball has been a real key to me in finding exercise, good health of course and quality of life," he said. "It's been a good formula through the years (of) staying in shape."

LINK: Learn more about the Florida Senior Games at https://floridaseniorgames.com/florida-senior-games/.