ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — The National Senior Games are coming to a close. It’s part entertainment, part inspiration.

Mike Max found both at a basketball tournament at the University of St. Thomas where the minimum age is 75.

If you ever wondered what age people quit caring about winning and losing, it has not been defined because those that live long and are able to play here still love to play.

“I love to play it but the body doesn’t cooperate all the time,” Jerry Rieder said.

What we’ve learned this week is that a competitive spirit never leaves any of these people that want to compete. Even in the 75-and-over women’s basketball division.

On this day a team from Tennessee tangles with a team from New Orleans. It heats up.

“They’ll question calls. I had one lady that it was a foul on a lay-up and she goes oh it was all ball, all ball,” referee Scott Nygaard said. “She was pushing me. They get feisty.”

It is a battle well fought and like all sports, when your team does not win, it is a time of reflection and correction. And frustration.

“Because I think we can play with any team possible, it’s just our shooting. If we would make our shots we would be OK. We practice our shots all the time and you can be either on or off. We were a little bit off today,” Shelly Raymond, the coach for New Orleans 75-and-over, said.

But if there is a lesson learned this week, it is appreciation for competition, for the will to get better. For the opportunity, the opportunity to feel young again.

“Hopefully you’re going to live a few years. “That’s a pretty good day. It’s not a pretty good day, it’s a real good day my friend,” Madge Susong, a 75-year-old shooting guard, said.

Mike Max

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