Celebrating the Passion of Masters Athletes


It’s been a crazy (good) time at Growing Bolder recently. In the most recent issue of Growing Bolder Magazine, we write about our love for masters sports in this issue; and, spoiler alert, it has very little to do with the sport itself. Our interest is grounded in our belief that a shared passion for life, expressed through activities that require movement, dedication, socialization and focus is the surest path to health and well-being and the most effective path to recovery. Recovery from what? Anything. Everything. It really doesn’t matter.

It’s this shared passion, and the large and growing community that has formed around all masters sports, that is drawing us to the 2019 National Senior Games this month in Albuquerque, N.M. While we might report a result or two, we’re not all that interested in who wins or loses. To us, this bi-annual event is more of a celebration than a competition, because every one of the more than 15,000 competitors is a winner simply by his or her participation.

We’re going to 2019 National Senior Games because every participant has a unique story to tell and an important lesson to teach.

What kind of stories will we tell? The answer to that takes me back to 1980 when I was hired as an on-air sportscaster in Phoenix. The news director called me into his office on my first day and said something totally unexpected. “Do not cater to the hardcore sports fans,” he said. “I don’t want you talking about statistics or game strategy. Your job is to keep Mrs. Jones (his term for their average viewer) from getting up and going to the kitchen when your sports segment begins. The hardcore sports fans will like anything that has to do with sports. Capture Mrs. Jones’ attention and you triple your audience. Make non-sports fans care about your sports segment, and you’ve got a career.”

Many young sportscasters would have been confused and frustrated. I was thrilled and liberated because it aligned perfectly with a personal desire that I thought I would have to suppress in order to be successful.

While the competition was doing a story on the star quarterback, I did a story on the star quarterback’s mom. When they focused on the best team in the tournament and how they celebrated wins, I zeroed in on the team that had never won a game and why they loved to play. I made the moral of the story, the story.

The competitors in the National Senior Games speeding around the corners of the course on the Minnesota State Fair Grounds (©Jessica Gallagher 2015)

That philosophy will guide us in Albuquerque. We’ll tell stories that are more about heart than muscle, stories of recovery and redemption, stories that have a message we can all learn from whether we ever engage in sports or not — stories that would appeal to Mrs. Jones.

We’re excited that our pal and three-time Olympic Gold Medalist, Rowdy Gaines, will join us in Albuquerque as part of the Growing Bolder team. Before Rowdy covers his seventh Olympics for NBC, he’ll cover his first National Senior Games for Growing Bolder!

Rowdy will also be among the many Growing Bolder friends and contributors participating in another new initiative we’re excited to share.

Late last year, Growing Bolder entered and won a national contest to produce a new pledge program for American Public Television. We pitched a program called “Launchpad to What’s Next” because there now exists an entirely new life stage—the potential for two, three and even four decades of active life beyond what’s considered normal retirement age. This prospect both excites and worries us all. We all wonder how we can turn these bonus decades into a time that’s filled with passion, purpose and possibility.

How can we reinvent ourselves, remain healthy and mentally sharp? How can we make sure that we don’t run out of money before we run out of time? In short, we all wonder: What’s next?

“Launchpad to What’s Next” features some of the biggest names in health, fitness, finance and more answering the biggest questions, addressing the biggest fears and inspiring the kind of lifestyle that empowers active longevity. It’s a fast-paced motivational seminar, educational summit and entertainment extravaganza; and it’s coming to national television later this year.

And here’s the new twist. We’re turning “Launchpad to What’s Next” into a live nationwide tour. The first “Launchpad to What’s Next LIVE!” was recently held in the beautiful Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center in The Villages, Fla. The second stop on the tour is June 18, 2019 in Albuquerque, N.M. at the historic Kimo Theater as part of the National Senior Games. THE EVENT IS NOW SOLD OUT! Click here for more details on this unforgettable evening of inspiration. 

We’ve got big plans for the next year and hope you do too, because that’s Growing Bolder.

Note: A version of this article originally appeared in Growing Bolder Magazine. To learn more about our passion for masters sports, check out the Spring 2019 issue of Growing Bolder Magazine. It’s available for print or digital purchases.