BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — The Smith family will take on the 2023 National Senior Games together.
They have been to countless games, traveling across the country to watch their beloved “Paw Paw” compete. The family said “Paw Paw” is also the family historian, who is always capturing precious moments for generations.
Dwight “Paw Paw” Smith, 94, will compete in basketball for the 15th time at the National Senior Games, the world’s largest multi-sport event for seniors, with his team, the Larks.
“In the 85-plus age group, if we have six or seven teams nationally, we’re happy about that. We’re happy we get to still play,” said Dwight.
The grandfather has dealt with several injuries during his basketball career, including losing an eye on the court, but his love of the game and commitment to staying active has not diminished. In addition to contributing to his overall health and well-being, Dwight’s competition at the National Senior Games has had an unanticipated result in inspiring generations of his family to get active.
“Get up and move. I preach that to my family,” said Dwight.
When Dwight convinced his son, Terry, 74, to join the Larks for practice and he couldn’t keep up with men 20 years older, Terry was motivated to work on his fitness and started playing a number of sports, which helped him recover from numerous knee and heart surgeries. Terry is also preparing to compete at the 2023 National Senior Games, playing mixed doubles with his daughter, Christi, 51, who was inspired by her dad and grandfather to compete.
Dwight, Terry and Christi have all already earned one medal ahead of competing in the 2023 National Senior Games presented by Humana from July 7-18 in Pittsburgh.
They have all been selected as Humana Game Changers, which is a national recognition of athletes who exemplify healthy aging and provide encouragement, motivation and inspiration for all seniors to live healthy lifestyles.