Lisa Anderson is eager to share the joy she has found in setting new athletic goals in retirement. At 60, she is regularly practicing track and field, basketball, and golf to prepare for the annual Memphis Senior Olympics and is encouraging others in her age range to join her in trying new sporting ventures.
From Memphis, Lisa ran track and played basketball throughout her childhood and high school. Since then, she has primarily maintained her fitness through brisk daily walks and has always recognized the importance of staying active and eating clean. Lisa worked as an administrative coordinator at the University of Tennessee Health and Science Center for 32 years but found she was looking for fun new hobbies during her retired life. In 2021, after seeing a brochure at the Frazier Raleigh Community Center, Lisa became inspired to participate in the Memphis Senior Olympics and has been passionate about the event ever since. “I have always been very athletic and competitive, and while I was a little nervous, I felt I would do well at it,” Lisa says. And she was right. She has since won medals in track and field, basketball, golf, and bowling, among others.
Lisa explains that events for the Senior Olympics take place all over Memphis in various parks, senior centers, and tracks over two weeks. Participants are encouraged to sign up for whatever interests them, despite their experience. “We can select what we want to do and get out there, give it a try, and have some fun.” Finalists from district-level games qualify for the State Finals held each summer and can even proceed to compete in Nationals held every two years.
Practice facilities are somewhat limited around town, so coordinating times to train before the Olympics can be challenging. To prepare, Lisa plays basketball with her daughter and grandson and even has a coach to help her prepare for javelin, shotput, and other field events. In addition to this training and her daily three-mile walk, Lisa enjoys water aerobics, line dancing, bowling, golfing, and riding her bike at Overton Park to stay fit.
Lisa says her favorite part of the Senior Olympics is the supportive and positive community. “Everyone in the Senior Olympics community wants to encourage and help one another succeed.” Lisa takes pride in encouraging others in the Memphis community to join in the fun and to come back and try new events each year. “There is nothing better than going back each year and seeing friends from the previous year still healthy, able, and showing up, and introducing new friends into the community.”
This year marks the 40th Anniversary of the Memphis Senior Olympics, which will take place from September 22 through October 13. If you want to join Lisa and the supportive Memphis Senior Olympics community, register online by September 8 at Tnseniorolympics.com/memphis-district.
By Zoe Harrison
Photo by Tindall Stephens