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Because Market is proud to be sponsoring six incredible women at this year's National Senior Athletic Games organized by the National Senior Games Association (NSGA). These extraordinary women are changing the narrative on what's possible for athletes over 60. Pushing back against stereotypes of the limits aging bodies face, these women take back their autonomy, health, and happiness as they Live Life Fully.
Joyce celebrating after winning gold in the 75 Singles at the 2019 Pickleball National Tournament.
I met my husband rollerskating, and then I found out that he played badminton. He grew up playing with Joel Prichard, so that's how we got introduced to pickleball when Joel invented it. Anyway, I was only 15, but I could beat anyone. When I found out that he played, I challenged him to a match. Not only did I not get a point, but I didn't even get to serve the bird because he won the toss and served 15 straight points. We got married two and a half years later.
Over the years, I tried beating him at other sports, but he always won. About 30 years ago, he got an infected kidney and had to have it removed. I decided if I was ever going to beat him at anything, it's after he’s just had major surgery. So we went out on the tennis court and played for an hour. I finally sat down in the court and said, okay, done. I give. I never did get to beat him in anything.
I have one experience that I was very happy about. We were moving from a condo into independent living, and we had to really cut down on everything we owned. I had two apple boxes full of medals that I had won, but there was no room for them when we were moving. I had a pickleball friend who put on children's pickleball tournaments, and he asked me if I had any generic medals. I found him around 90 medals, and he was very pleased with those for his junior tournament program.
And in the bottom of one of the apple boxes, down in the corner, was a little square box. In beautiful calligraphy, it said 1978 badminton nationals in San Diego, California. Inside there were four thin, round pieces of what looked like gold. My son said they might be worth something, so he took them to a jeweler. And it turned out that they were worth $410. And if I hadn't gone through the boxes of medals for my friend, I never would have known that that little box was down there in the bottom. So I was happy I did a favor for my friend.
Joyce goes for a shot at the net during the 2023 National Senior Athletic Games.
Up until two years ago, I played badminton, and up until last year, I played tennis—plus my pickleball all the time. I played something just about every day. Now that I'm only playing pickleball, I should be training, but I'm not. I manage a store at our independent living facility twice a week, and I direct a sing-along group. But I don't do any sports other than playing pickleball two or three times a week.
Joyce poses with the 8 medals she won in the Huntsman World Games.
I don't have that problem yet. I eventually will, I'm sure. But the only advice I can give them is to wear pads and just keep playing as long as possible.
Click here to check out our last interview with MS survivor and track and field athlete Eleanor Pendergraft!