David Cass, left, and Gary Skelton play pickleball doubles Monday at the Frances Wyatt Center in North Chattanooga. They are participating in the Chattanooga District Senior Olympics. Staff Photo by Tim Barber/Chattanooga Times Free Press
Kevin Highsmith said on his last birthday he celebrated the first anniversary of turning 49.
“It’s kind of hard to choke down,” he said of being classified in some circles as a senior citizen. “I still haven’t swallowed it.”
Yet, Highsmith is one of more than 100 area residents ages 50-55 who are taking part in the Chattanooga sector of this month’s Tennessee Senior Olympics.
The Tennessee American Water Co. employee will participate in the Games’ 50-54 division of men’s softball.
Ginny Stone, Chattanooga district coordinator of the Senior Olympics, said the number of junior seniors has been rising slowly since the Games lowered its threshold for participants to 50 six years ago.
“I think it’s that baby boomers are used to being active all along,” she said. “If they keep thinking they’re as young as they do, it’ll be a whole different ball game [as to participants]. The numbers will grow.”
Between now and Wednesday, area Senior Olympians will participate in 55 events in 20 sports. Winners advance to the Tennessee Senior Olympics.
Contact Clint Cooper at email@example.com or 423-757-6497.
Clint Cooper is the faith editor and a staff writer for the Times Free Press Life section. He also has been an assistant sports editor and Metro staff writer for the newspaper. Prior to the merger between the Chattanooga Free Press and Chattanooga Times in 1999, he was sports news editor for the Chattanooga Free Press, where he was in charge of the day-to-day content of the section and the section’s design. Before becoming sports ...