Evanston Not-For-Profit Promoting “Ways to Age Well” Sponsors Hoopla to Participate in the 2005 Senior National Summer Games 

Evanston, IL- May 1, 2005- Hoopla, a group of Evanston Baby Boomers who have found a common love for basketball, is taking it to the limit this summer as the team makes plans to compete in the 2005 Summer National Senior Games as part of The Senior Olympics. The women, ranging in age from 50 – 63, reached out to Evanston not-for-profit Mather LifeWays for sponsorship to participate in the senior games. Never having had an opportunity to play as kids, the team is now committed to play every chance they get in their adult life. The team, consisting of seven women, found a passion for basketball and teamwork when a skills class at the Evanston Park District’s Chandler-Newberger Community Center was initiated four years ago. Since then the team has become avid players. They enjoy the ongoing support of Chandler-Newberger, which provides open court time, and Sunshine Voelker who volunteers her time to coach the team.

Hoopla learned about The Summer National Senior Games from a regional women’s basketball team that plans to participate in the 70+ age bracket of the games. The women saw the games as an opportunity to play competitively, but needed assistance in covering the entrance fee and travel and accommodations costs. “I knew Mather LifeWays from living in Evanston , and they seem like a great organization that is committed to the 50+ market and to healthy, active living,” says Heidrun Hoppe, a member of Hoopla. “I approached Mary Leary, the CEO, about sponsoring our team and she and the executive team agreed that it was a fantastic way to reinforce their organization’s mission of “Ways to Age Well” for older adults.” After qualifying for the National Games at the state tournament in Springfield , Hoopla is enthusiastically making plans to represent Illinois at the competition this summer in Pittsburgh .

The Summer National Senior Games, as part of The Senior Olympics, are held every two years, and this summer will be held in Pittsburgh from June 3-18. The Senior Olympics is an 18-sport competition that strives to encourage adults 50+ to achieve greater value and quality in their lives by staying healthy, active and fit.

Mather LifeWays CEO, Mary Leary adds “These women grew up at a time when they were restricted in what they could do. Even the rules for sports were limiting. It is great to see them all find their passion in basketball today when there are no limitations to what women or adults can do. This is just one way to age well and we are proud to sponsor this inspirational group of women.”

The members of Hoopla have found that benefits of the game outweigh the purely physical, citing the pleasure of playing as a team. “Basketball is wonderful for stress release,” adds Hoppe. “We are still working and pounding the pavement. In basketball you cannot think about anything but the game strategy and what you are doing. You have to be completely focused on the game.”

Hoopla meets two to three times weekly, plays pick-up games whenever they have the chance, and finds they can hardly tear themselves from the court. 

Who is Mather LifeWays?

Mather LifeWays is a 50+-year-old, not-for-profit organization committed to creating Ways to Age Well. Mather LifeWays demonstrates its commitment to promoting the vitality and well-being of older adults by providing a variety of experiences and services to meet this diverse group’s lifestyle preferences. These offerings include senior residences, research and education and community programs. Mather LifeWays’ senior residences offer choices and flexibility, from independent living to assisted living and skilled care. The Institute on Aging plays a leading role in enhancing the lives of older adults in today’s society through numerous collaborative and applied research and education projects. Mather LifeWays’ Community Initiatives programs, including the successful Mather’s – More Than a Café concept, enable Mather LifeWays to act as a point of contact for older adults who seek access to community resources. These accomplishments, and more, make Mather LifeWays unique in its goal to advance the possibilities for a lifetime of Ways to Age Well. The organization is based in Evanston , Ill. More information is available at www.matherlifeways.com .