BY MAGGIE BEAMGUARD, Insider Editor
Why stick with one sport when you can play them all?
Over the years, Sue Stahl, a resident of Seven Lakes, competed in a variety of athletics. She lettered in 12 sports as a high school student and kept on playing as an adult. “Soccer, basketball, softball, volleyball, softball – I’ve played them all,” she said.
As a senior adult, she is still at the top of her game, having brought home an age-group gold medal in bocce ball from the N.C. Senior Games held on Oct. 7 in Clayton.
Stahl, a native of North New Jersey, migrated to the Sandhills by way of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where she worked as a director of cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation for a local hospital. She moved to Seven Lakes to help her mother, Ruth Stahl, in 2015 after her father, George F. Stahl suffered a stroke.
Stahl plays with the bocce ball group started by her father on a court in Seven Lakes North named in his memory. He gave bocce a start with pal Les Sommers, who still plays and also has a court named for him. Stahl would play when she came down for visits before moving here permanently. And now she enjoys keeping the family tradition alive.
“I just love going up there. I call it ‘hanging with the guys,’” Stahl says.
The game is a lot more than rolling balls. “There’s strategy in it. You can block opponents and play angles. And that’s what makes it fun.”
The road to the bocce gold began right here in Seven Lakes where Stahl stays active, riding her electric bicycle and also playing cornhole, shuffleboard and a little doubles pickleball.
For the past few years, she has competed in the Senior Games of the Pines. And this spring she qualified for the N.C. Senior Games, winning gold in bocce, gold in shuffleboard and silver in cornhole. Though she has qualified at the local level before, this was the year she decided to go for the big league.
“For me, it was about just going and meeting other people. And it was fun. Everybody chatted with each other. As much as you were competing, you were able to talk to people from all over the state,” she said. “You know, it’s all about fun. It’s supposed to be.”
From tennis to the arts, the Senior Games offer something for everyone. “There are people that are very old that can do the 100-yard dash. Even when I was playing bocce, there was a fellow that was 99 competing,” she said. “And there are people with walkers that do bocce. So despite whatever health issues or handicaps you may have, there’s something for everybody.”
Stahl knows from experience — and her background in exercise physiology — that making modifications is key to staying active as you age. She suffered a severe knee injury playing soccer in 1991 but has found ways to accommodate the limitations she faces.
“You learn to modify your life to still do the things you want to do.”
Getting out there is just fun, Stahl says. “Seeing all the seniors participating is just fabulous.”
For more information about the Senior Games in the Pines, an event co-hosted by the Moore County Senior Enrichment Center and the Parks and Recreation Departments in Moore County or the NC Senior games contact the Parks and Recreation Department at (910) 947-2504 or visit the NC Senior Games at www.ncseniorgames.org.
Contact Maggie Beamguard at email@example.com.