Betty started playing tennis at a time in life (at age 55) when most people are considering putting the racquet away! She may have started a little later in life than most, but she has made up for lost time. She currently plays tennis three times a week and is trying to improve her game by taking lessons.
Well, the lessons must be paying off as she has collected 50 medals – so far – from her involvement in the Huntsman World Senior Games. Betty remembers competing at the first Games. There were only 12 ladies entered. A lot of things have changed since Betty first competed in the Games, and tennis has grown as a sport. However, one thing has not changed – Betty’s love of tennis and her competitive spirit!
To be successful, every event needs at least one champion to carry the banner. The Huntsman Senior Games has been fortunate. It has been blessed with many champions – on and off the field of competition. Bill Smart is one of those champions. Not only did he compete in the first Games, he was part of the initial planning with John Morgan.
“Bill was for the Games,” noted John, “even when it was, perhaps, not too popular – because we didn’t know for certain that they were going to come off that very first year.” As the managing director of a major newspaper in Northern Utah, Bill had tremendous resources to throw behind the Games and help them get off the ground.
“It is an honor to be associated with John and the great program he and Daisy initiated,” said Bill.
Bill Webb is the picture of health according to John Morgan, President and Founder of the Huntsman World Senior Games. Perhaps all seniors could look to Bill’s example as inspiration to get in or stay in shape. Of course, one of the main reasons he works out to stay in shape all year is to be ready to compete in the Games – and he has not missed one yet!
It was while staying is St. George during his travels between Northern Utah and Palm Springs to watch a professional tennis tournament that Bill first learned of John’s vision for a senior sporting even. He wholeheartedly embraced the idea and promised to return to compete. Little did he know that his promise would turn into a lifetime commitment! Yes, it is safe to say that Bill Webb is an excellent role model of how to spend one’s golden years!
Brent has always been a leader. From leading his high school basketball team to an undefeated season to playing college basketball and earning a letter on the tennis team to 23 years as a hospital administrator, Brent knows how to lead!
For many years Brent organized and directed a group of senior tennis players. They would meet each Saturday morning at a local tennis court to play. Well, being the outstanding leader that he is, Brent led many members of that group to the Huntsman World Senior Games. As a leader, Brent has learned to recognize quality and associate himself with things of quality, which is why he as associated himself with the Games and has promoted the Games everywhere he goes. Unfortunately, Brent now suffers from debilitating arthritis and is no longer able to compete. His heart is here, even if his body won’t cooperate!
Sport: “An activity involving physical exertion and skill that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often undertaken competitively.”
Sportsman: “One who participates in one or more sports.”
Sportsmanship: “Clark J. Christensen.”
Clark has played softball in the Huntsman World Senior Games since 1992. During those years he often played in more than one age division – meaning he competed against men younger than himself. In all those years and after all those games the word on the diamond about him is that he displays outstanding sportsmanship. The behavior one displays in the heat of competition says a lot about the character of an individual.
In addition to great sportsmanship, Clark has a great love for the Games. He never passes up an opportunity to promote the Games to other senior athletes in the softball world. He also says that he has met some of his best friends playing softball.
Skiing . . . water skiing . . . mountain biking . . . cycling . . . rollerblading . . . boating . . . sailing . . . traveling . . . golf . . . work. These are the favorite pastimes of Huch Aoki. When Huch first heard about the Huntsman World Senior Games as a 60 year old back in 1987, he was excited to be able to pursue some of those interests in a competitive environment. He has gold medals in cycling and golf to his credit. The years have passed and Huch still loves to compete, however he now says, “to just finish each event . . . is a blessing”.
One of the highlighs of the Games for Huch is the number of participants that come each year from all over the world.
Huch considers induction into the Hall of Fame the “greatest surprise of my young life”. When asked his feelings on being inducted into the Hall of Fame, Huch responded, “How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?”
If one receives great advice, it only makes sense to share that advice with others. Well, that is exactly what Jack Simons did. He was competing in the Nations Senior Games in softball. He commented to another player how nice those games were. The other player said, “Jack, go out to the Huntsman World Senior Games. They are fantastic.” Upon getting the particulars, he did just that. He took a team to the Games and loved it!
The story doesn’t end there. Now, every chance Jack gets he tells others – or in his words, “brags” about the Games. He has been instrumental in introducing numerous other athletes to the Games. Here is an excerpt for just one of the letters Jack has received: “Jack, thanks for asking me to go to Utah for the softball. It was an experience I will never forget.”
For the last 13 or so years, you could find Lynne Lund somewhere at the Huntsman World Senior Games. The reason we say somewhere is because she is seldom at the same place. She has competed in swimming, triathlon relays, track and field and she has even tried pickleball. If that is not enough, she is also coach for a youth swim team and works as a private coach for adults. Not bad for a former art teacher!
Lynne is a former world ranked swimmer who has held multiple #1 rankings. She also sat on the California Senior Games State Board. With those credentials behind her, Lynne carries a lot of influence among senior swimmers. She is more than happy to use that influence to promote the Games as an ambassador.
The most important thing to Richard, when it comes to induction into the Huntsman World Senior Games Hall of Fame or for recognition as the Game’s Director of Volleyball, is to share the credit with each and every member of the “team”. Not that he couldn’t take credit for the sport of volleyball growing from a small, average tournament into, arguably the premier senior volleyball tournament in the world and the second largest sport at the Games.
The “team” Richard refers to is more that the staff that helped runs the event. The “team” includes every person who has competed, refereed, kept score, filled a water cooler, adjusted a net compiled statistics, inflated a ball, coached a team, supported a spouse, cheered for a team, swept a floor, sliced fruit, wrapped an ankle or knee, or put ice on a shoulder. From Richard’s prospective, this is a shared honor, which he humbly accepts in behalf of The Team.
It only seems appropriate that Marian and Jordan Wolle be inducted into the Hall of Fame together as theirs is a hall-of-fame love story. Their story begins the second year of the Games, but the first in which swimming was offered as a sport. Is seems that there was this spunky New Jersey widow who noticed a dapper New Mexico fellow taking pictures around the pool. When she returned home she found a package containing pictures from that first swimming competition. She started a correspondence by writing to thank him and the rest is Huntsman World Senior Games Hall of Fame history.
The Wolle’s love of the Games is almost as great as their love of each other. They take brochures to all the swim meets they attend across the country and throughout the world. They hope as other seniors see what they have accomplished that they will be inspired to set and achieve similar goals.