Dick and Ken

Dick Naslund and Ken Parsons have been competing in the National Senior Olympic Games for several years. They’ve been involved with the Oshkosh Community YMCA for decades. Both are very appreciative of everything the Y has to offer, especially the open gym time to play Pickleball. Dick and Ken began playing Pickleball within the last three years. Now they play it on a regular basis, typically five days of the week.
Dick first started playing Pickleball competitively when our former Youth Sports Director, Paul Trebiatowski, needed one more player for an open doubles tournament at the Downtown YMCA in 2013. He asked Dick to play with him and the two won the open tournament against all ages. Paul was 28 and Dick was 88.
Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the United States. The sport is similar to tennis, however the court is smaller and the net is lower. The ball used is comparable to a wiffle ball, made of plastic and containing several holes. The paddles used in Pickleball are slightly larger than those used for ping pong. The sport is very addictive for many reasons. Dick and Ken enjoy the sport because it’s competitive, fun, and an excellent cardiovascular workout. Both YMCA locations, 20th Ave and Downtown, offer open gym hours for groups and individuals to play. Many locals that play Pickleball at the Oshkosh YMCA have competed in the sport at the Wisconsin Senior Olympics, including Dick and Ken.
The dynamic duo won their 80-84 division at Wisconsin Senior Olympics in 2014, which qualified them to compete at the 2015 National Senior Games. The 2015 games took place July 3rd-16th in Bloomington, Minneapolis, and Saint Paul, MN. In order to compete at Nationals, one must win the event at the State level. Athletes qualify for Nationals in even years and the National competition takes place in odd years.

In the summer of 2015, Dick and Ken entered the 80-84 Pickleball doubles event and won the silver medal. In the singles competition, Ken took 7th in the 80-84 age division and Dick won the gold in the 90-94 division. A total of 10,000+ athletes competed in the 2 week long National Senior Games in all events.  

The National Senior Games Association exists as a nonprofit organization dedicated to motivating adults 50 and over to lead a healthy lifestyle through the senior games movement. Its signature event, the National Senior Games, has grown to one of the largest multi-sport events in the world. Competition begins at age 50 and the divisions are 50-54, 55-59, and so on. The Senior Games take place every other year and currently hosts 19 different sports.
Dick has been participating in the games since 2003 when he first competed in softball. That year, the National Senior Games competition took place in Virginia Beach and his Milwaukee team took 5th place in the 70-74 division In 2005, the games were held in Pittsburgh, PA. Dick’s Milwaukee team of 75-79 took 3rd. The following year, Dick qualified for the National Senior Games in 3 on 3 Basketball. He competed at the 2007 games in Louisville, KY with a team from North Carolina and won a silver medal. In 2009, the games were held in Palo Alto, CA. Competing in 3 on 3 Basketball again, Dick’s North Carolina team took 5th place. The 2011 games took place in Houston, TX. Dick’s Wisconsin team in the 80-84 division placed 5th.
Dick and Ken competed together in 2013, playing 3 on 3 Basketball for the Wisconsin 80’s in the Cleveland games. Dick was both a player and the team’s coach. Their team took gold in the AA Division.
The 2017 games will take place in Bermingham, AL. Both competed in the summer at the Wisconsin Senior Olympics to qualify.

If interested in competing in a sport at the Senior Olympics, visit http://www.wiseniorolympics.com/

If you would like to learn how to play Pickleball there are several players at the Oshkosh YMCA, including Dick and Ken, who are willing to help you! For our Pickleball open gym hours, please visit http://www.oshkoshymca.org/programs/sports/pickleball.html. If you have any questions or would like more information regarding the sport, contact Lester Millette at 920-236-3380 or lestermillete@oshkoshymca.org