Linda LaFleur: 82-Year-Old Point Guard
Eighty-two-year-old Linda LaFleur claims she’s lived an average life. But three masters degrees, a doctorate, decades of military service, and present-day basketball pursuits add up to anything but average. Linda is currently training for her ninth Senior Games, with her sights set on nationals.
The Oklahoma Senior Games unite athletes ages 50 and up in sometimes fierce, but always friendly competition across 29 categories, including line dancing, pickleball, archery, triathlon, tennis, and Linda’s league – basketball.
“My daughter also plays basketball and competes in the games, and it’s a fun way for us to spend time together.” Though the senior leagues don’t allow players to play in older age brackets, Linda sometimes joins her daughter in a younger league. Though surprising to many, Linda considers her longevity a natural consequence of an active lifestyle and good genes.
Amidst her career, military contributions, and motherhood, Linda never strayed too far from the court. She played basketball in high school and then lettered as part of Oklahoma State University’s varsity women’s team in the 1960s. After college, Linda joined local leagues and later played on women’s teams in the military.
“My love for basketball has kept me active, not only playing but also the motivation to do other exercises and activities so that I can keep playing without being injured,” Linda said. “Running is another way I’ve been able to stay in shape.”
She readily recalled her first marathon experience. “My first marathon was in Berlin when it was still a split city. I was one of 25,000 runners and it was just thrilling to see the crowds lined up, cheering.” She later held the Women’s Masters Record for the Army Marathon and has since competed in the running category of the Senior Games.
Incredibly accomplished and equally humble, Linda didn’t want this article to be about her achievements, but rather the benefits that the Senior Games offer other adults. “There is such a wide variety of activities and interests at these games,” Linda said. “Find something you enjoy doing. Not only will it help you stay fit and active, but you will make friends, keep your mind active, and give you something to look forward to. It encourages you to just be alive!”
Learn more about the Oklahoma Senior Games, or explore categories and upcoming events at the website okseniorgames.com.