Ruth Parker returned to her apartment at the Passavant Community last week with two silver medals to add to her ever-growing collection of awards.
Parker had just finished competing in the National Senior Games Association biennial tournament where more than 10,000 seniors competed in sports ranging from basketball and track to golf and shuffleboard.
“I’ll tell you what, I really like to shuffle,” she said.
Originally from the Pittsburgh area, Parker first hit the shuffleboard courts in 1996, when she and her husband Art were living in Florida.
“It was just something I wanted to do,” she said. “Next thing I knew I signed up for the tournament.”
She and Art moved to the Passavant Community in Zelienople three years ago where she continued to spread her passion for shuffleboards and senior sports, both in Zelienople and everywhere the NSGA tournaments have taken her.
“I’ve been to California, Houston, Cleveland, Minnesota and Birmingham,” she said. “It shows that people can do it.”
The foundational message of NSGA is that seniors can stay active and do more than even they thought possible despite their age.
“I’m 94 years old,” Parker said. “I don’t know it yet, but I am.”
Parker has used her passion for shuffleboard for more than just winning medals, though she has many: four gold and two silver. She has strengthened relationships with her family as well as the community at Passavant.
“The first time we went, I went to California,” she said. “I asked my daughter to go with me, and we ended up renting a house down there and the whole family came.” Parker won her first gold medal at that tournament and has been taking her family to the tournaments across the country ever since. “It’s a family thing,” she said.
At the last tournament in Birmingham, her four daughters all came with her to watch her play.
“The next two years it’s in Albuquerque,” she said, “and I already told my family I’m not going to that one.”
Her family is planning the trip anyway, she said.
Additionally, Parker is a big reason why Passavant has a shuffleboard court. It recently was installed in the community’s new park.
“My children, unbeknownst to me, they donated the court,” Parker said.
Before she had access, she practiced shuffleboard in the halls of her apartment. Now, she helps the community arrange tournaments, drafting scoring sheets and lending her decades of knowledge.
“This is a great place to live,” she said.
When Parker is not practicing or playing in tournaments, she spends time with her husband and her children, many of whom still live in the Pittsburgh area. Art lives in the nursing home right across from her apartment.
We have been following Ruth since 2015; Go here: https://theshuffler.net/2015/07/17/shuffling-for-gold-zelienople-woman-wins-at-senior-games-sent-along-by-bob-weber-with-thanks/ AND https://theshuffler.net/2015/07/30/active-shufflers-from-fl-will-remember-ruth-parker-she-just-picked-up-her-4th-gold-medal-at-the-national-senior-games/
Stan McCormack. 2017 06 25.