Michigan Man Takes Silver in Tennis at 2011 National Senior Games in Houston

Jeff Butler with his silver medal from the 2011 National Senior Games.

The image of senior citizens settling for bridge and bingo isn’t enough for some Michigan seniors. More than 10,000 athletes age 50 and older from across the U.S. competed in June at the 2011 National Senior Games in Houston. Eastpointe resident Jeff Butler, 69, came home from the games with a silver medal from the tennis doubles competition.

It was Butler’s fourth trip to the national competition, and he finds new inspiration each time. He talks about the 101-year old who competed in the shot put, throwing a 16-pound ball for distance. According to Butler, the man missed the previous competition because he was recovering from an injury he sustained three years earlier — when he fell off a roof!

Butler is a fitting ambassador for active seniors and the sport of tennis. A certified teaching professional at Wimbledon Racquet Club in St. Clair Shores, Butler is also active in United States Tennis Association Adult Leagues. He coaches several USTA teams and competes at the senior (50+) and super senior (60+) levels. He was a member of a super senior team that competed for a national title in May.

“Tennis is a great game,” says Butler. “It’s great exercise. You meet a lot of nice people. And it’s a terrific reason to sit down after a match and have a cold drink.”

The competition featured 64 events in 18 sports, from bowling and shuffleboard to tennis and triathlons.

Want to Compete in 2013?

To participate in the 2013 National Senior Games in Cleveland, you must first qualify through NSGA State Games during the even years (2008, 2010, 2012, etc.). Participants must be at least 50 years old during the qualifying year, and can qualify from the state where they live.

Whatever your sport, you can sign up for the 2012 qualifying games here in Michigan.

Know any other National Senior Games competitors in Michigan? Tell us about them here.

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