“If you can stand up and move your legs, you’re welcome,” said Marge Carl, a member of The Splash, the oldest team in the San Diego Senior Women’s Basketball Association.
The team consists of seven players, all of whom are over 80 years old and two of whom are a ripe 91 years of age. This makes The Splash the oldest team in the 50-and-over women’s recreational league. These women are breaking stereotypes about age and gender, showing that you’re never too old to take on a new challenge.
The senior women of the San Diego Splash basketball team were featured in an ESPN W video special – and are proving that even past 80, “it’s possible that you can still play.”
When asked “What has sports brought to your life?” Meg Skinner who is one of the team members said. “Everything,” “Happiness, friendship, exercise, wellbeing, getting away from the house. We do so many other things, too. We go to movies, go to the theater, go to concerts, go to basketball games.”
Since it's now medically proven that seniors' social connectedness leads to longer, more fulfilling lives, it comes as no surprise that many Splash players have outlived their significant others, siblings, and life-long friends. "A lot of my childhood friends thought I was crazy at 66 to be playing basketball. They said, 'You'll break an arm, you'll break a leg,'" explained 87-year-old Marge Carl. "You know, I'm the only one surviving of my childhood friends. They're all gone, every one of them."
Grace Larsen, the other 91-year-old team member, purchased her first pair of basketball shoes at 78 and has been playing ever since.
“Growing up we didn’t have sports like the girls do today,” Larsen said. “We didn’t have the opportunity to play.”
The Splash says their match-ups at the local YWCA inspire “big smiles,” and have helped them prove that age is just a number.
Grace Larsen who is 91 years of age started late with basketball, and she admires the fact she received the opportunity of playing. “I was 78 years old when I got my first basketball shoes, so that was a thrill because I never played all my life,”. 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.”
When asked if she plans to stop playing at any point in recent times due to her age, she simply replies “As long as I can I’m going to play,”. It’s just too much fun.”