By Dan Ritchie, Functional Aging Institute

Thousands of athletes from around the country will be competing in June’s National Senior Games in Albuquerque, starting the same time as the Functional Aging Summit.

Several have close relationships with the Functional Aging Summit.

And one has just about the closest relationship possible: my father, Mark Ritchie.

 

His First National Senior Games

Dad is 71 and was always athletic growing up, playing sports in high school in college. Even his career was physically active, in a different way. Dad worked as a commodities trader at the Chicago Board of Trade. He was a “yeller and shouter,” one of those guys you used to see in movies waving wildly and, well, yelling and shouting on the trading floor.

Dad’s retired now and lives nearby in West Lafayette, Indiana. He stays active with softball and weightlifting. He enjoys it, and he knows it’s essential.

“When I was a kid, retirement appeared to me a way of saying, ‘My useful life is over, and I’m getting ready to pass away,’  “Dad says. “And that is just ridiculous.”

I’m so proud dad sees it this way. His philosophy no doubt helped shape my outlook when Cody Sipe and I were starting the Functional Aging Institute. He knows there’s a lot of life after retirement – especially nowadays when millions of people retire earlier and live longer than previous generations.

 

He Loves the ‘Shot of Adrenaline’

Dad will be competing in the 50-meter, 100-meter and 200-meter sprints at the National Senior Games, his first.

“This is a significant thing,” he says of the games. “You get out there and meet people, and you have a good time.

“The shot of adrenaline that you get is like a drug when they say on your mark, get set go – It’s pretty exciting. We’re here in life to have some fun. It’s a sad thing if a person’s not having any fun.”

You said it, Dad. I’ll be there, cheering.

> Learn more about the Functional Aging Summit and the National Senior Games.