In the 2023 National Senior Games, eleven local senior basketball teams showcased their skills and earned wins and medals! These teams have a history of playing at the Levy Senior Center and recently participated in the 3-on-3 Hoops for the Ages senior basketball tournament held this May. A number of these teams are proudly sponsored by the Levy Senior Center Foundation. Taking place in Pittsburgh from July 7 through 17, the games encompassed 20 different sports and saw participation from over 11,500 athletes.
At the National Senior Games, teams compete in different age and gender categories. Local women’s basketball teams included the Evanston Stragglers (55-59), Where Are We Going After This (55-59), Blue Thunder (60-64), Second City Storm (65-69), Get Along Gals (65-69), Chicago North Shore Drive (65-69), Chicago North Stars (70-74), and Chicago North Stars (75-79). Local men’s teams were Slow and Steady (50-55), Hoops for Life (75-79), and J-Town (60-64). Other local hoopers played with teams from Florida, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Michigan.
The J-Town 60+ team from left: Lennell Pierce and Larry Thompson kneeling. Standing, George Kapitzky, Eric Miller, Nick Saunders, Tom Jones, Ted Hardin, James Lewis and coach Wil Daniel.
The Slow and Steady 50+ team from left: Jim Sofranko, Carl McKenzie, Steve Cline, Ray Bady, Jeff Danielson, Tyrone “Doc” Bell, and Rob Bady.
All the local teams played well and several brought home medals. On the men’s side, Hoops for Life and J-Town won silver and Slow and Steady won bronze. For the women, the Evanston Stragglers brought home a bronze medal. Local player Cathy Wilson won two silvers playing on 65+ and 70+ teams. Edwina Dennis, at the age of 89, won a silver medal playing for the Michigan Spirit. Edwina said, “I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the SHE CA GO team which I played with for many years. I am going to make another donation to the Levy Senior Center Foundation in honor of my teammates.”
The Michigan Spirit team from left: Edwina Dennis, Mary Lawrence, Mary Gibbs, Edna Allen, Dorothy Crogan and Marilyn Day.
Comments from others who competed include this one from Christy Bowman of the Chicago North Stars, “We have been together as a team for 20 years and I am thrilled to still be playing basketball.”
Anita Barfield-Brown of the Evanston Stragglers said, “Our team model is ‘Together we win.’ The National Senior Games is an amazing experience of competition, community and camaraderie. The connection with athletes from competing states inspired us all by seeing so many people still enjoying sport and competition. Personally, I will be making a donation to the Foundation and will encourage my teammates to do the same. Go Seniors!”
The Evanston Stragglers 55+ team from left: Sophia Neely, Karen Ordonez, Anita Barfield-Brown, Judy Flegel and Brenda Zagula. Alma Reyther is missing from the photo.
Rob Bady of Slow and Steady said this: “The city of Pittsburgh went all out in welcoming our senior athletes.”
Tim Roder from Hoops for Life said, “Comradery makes my day.”
The Hoops For Life 75+ team from left: David Janzen, Bill Pritz, Bob Anthony, Norm Rose, Dorrance Halverson, Don Baker and Tim Roder.
Tom Jones of J-Town said, “Pittsburgh was a great host city, this was our fourth time, and our first time on the medal stand. My in-laws were hosts for a cookout and so I enjoyed family, as well as the fellowship of my teammates. Several new players strengthened our core team.”
Shelia Jones of the Get Along Gals said, “We moved up a notch to 5th place overall. We will do better in Des Moines in 2025.”
All of our teams are grateful for the support of the Levy Senior Center and the Levy Senior Center Foundation. The Senior Games are a chance to play the game we love, connect with players from across the country, and be inspired by the performance of senior athletes. Click here to read more about this year's Senior Games from Wendi Kromash in the RoundTable. If anyone wants to get involved with our local senior basketball program, check out HoopsForTheAges.org. All seniors are welcome to join the Levy Senior Center.
By Dorrance Halverson. Mr. Halverson is a member of the Levy Center Foundation Board.