Meet These Octogenarian Basketball Players of San Diego Splash
Team sports are not always for the young, they also can be for the young at heart.
These seven octogenarians are players of the San Diego Splash basketball team. The only qualification to play is that you need to be at least 80 years old.
Some are even older and have been playing on the Splash for over 20 years. Two of these veteran players are Fran Styles, 89, and Meg Skinner, 91. A few players were late bloomers. Grace Larsen, who is 91 years old, got her first pair of basketball shoes when she was 78.
“I never had the chance to play. Growing up we didn’t have sports like the girls do today. We didn’t have the opportunity to play, That was before Title IX. I thought it would be so much fun if I could actually play basketball. As long as I can, I’m gonna play,” Larsen told espnW in a video they posted on Facebook.
"If you can stand up and move your legs, you're welcome."Meet the 80-year-old and up hoops squad that plays to win … #MondayMotivation
Posted by espnW on Monday, June 26, 2017
A video of the team has gone viral with over 7 million views.
“If you can stand up and move your legs, you are welcome,” 87 year-old Marge Carl told espnW.
These seniors are doing more than just standing there. They’re dribbling, passing, guarding, and sinking jump shots like women half their age — except their game is slightly altered. They play 30-minute 3-on-3 half-court games with one halftime.
The Splash are part of The San Diego Senior Women’s Basketball Team Association (SWBA) for senior women 50 years of age and older. SWBA members are women from all walks of life — from business owners to doctors, lawyers and homemakers.
“We are the oldest team in the league,” Cori Thompson (89) told espnW.
Some Splash members were chastised by their friends and family for continuing the sport at their age, but it didn’t deter them.
“A lot of my childhood friends thought I was crazy at 66 to be playing basketball,” Carl told espnW. “I’m the only surviving. They’re all gone.”
Joanne Jansen, 82, was told by her brothers that “they would put me away and I said, I’m going to play anyway.”
Their motto — “one for all and all for one” — is what drives them on the court. These women have proven it can be done even when you’re older and have found a fountain of youth in the sport. They have formed bonds that will last the rest of their lifetimes in the spirit of friendship and sisterhood.
And of course, they play to win.