Generation still playing the sports they love

As the baby boomer generation ages, many of them are looking for new ways to remain physically activ
The Smoke on the Water swim team set the Adirondack Masters district record in the 800 freestyle relay and were ranked second nationally in the 45 and over age group. From left are Willie Grimmke,  Dan Canty, Tim Sinnenberg and Steve Atkins. (Karen Byer)
The Smoke on the Water swim team set the Adirondack Masters district record in the 800 freestyle relay and were ranked second nationally in the 45 and over age group. From left are Willie Grimmke, Dan Canty, Tim Sinnenberg and Steve Atkins. (Karen Byer)

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As the baby boomer generation ages, many of them are looking for new ways to remain physically active, and continue to play the sports they have always loved. Some swim, others play softball or even lift weights.

Tim Sinnenberg is principal of Charlton Heights Elementary School in Ballston Lake, and coaches the Schenectady-Saratoga Swim Club. He is also a member of the unofficial swim team known as Smoke on the Water, which practices at the Saratoga YMCA.

“We practice at least four times a week in the morning,” he said. “We do pretty much an hour and try to get in about two miles.”

Sinnenberg swam when he was in high school and has enjoyed training with a team again. He said that being able to swim with a group is important, especially in swimming.

“I think that training with others pushes you beyond what you would do individually,” he said.

The team currently has between 20 and 25 members, according to Sinnenberg, and is composed of individuals from all walks of life.

“The great thing about the team is that it ranges from people just out of college to people in their fifties,” said Sinnenberg.

Not all baby boomers are swimmers though, and there is a place for those others as well.


The Capital District Softball League was founded in 1990, and is for players over 55. Tom Shields, president of the league in New York state, explained that it comprises 15 teams that make up three divisions, with each division for a different age range. According to Shields, the League has around 190 members.

In addition to being the president, Shields has been a player in the league for seven years. He said that the relationships that are formed among team members are an important part of the experience.

“It’s the camaraderie with all the guys,” he said. “Playing a team sport, you really do bond.”

He said the league typically plays once a week on Saturday mornings, with the season beginning in late April and ending in mid September.

In addition to the camaraderie, Shields said that being in the league is a chance for many to continue playing a game that they have played for much of their life.

“We are a bunch of older men playing a sport that we have always loved.”

The League plays at Veteran’s Memorial Park in Clifton Park, but attracts players from all over the region.

For those that prefer something a little less rigorous, walking can be an enjoyable way to keep fit. The Empire State Capital Volkssporters is a club that arranges large group walks throughout the year. It offers a chance to remain active and meet people, according to the club’s president, Linda Morzello.

Morzello said she has been involved with the club for about 23 years, since she heard about a walk organized by the club that included many of the local museums in Saratoga Springs.

She and her husband have been walking with the group ever since, but they became even more active after their children were out of the house.

“We did walks occasionally but we had children at home,” said Morzello. “So after they left I became more active.”

As president, she works to organize walks and promote the club’s goals.

“What we promote is fun, fitness and friendship. Those are the goals of the Volkssporters,” she said.

The club has nearly 300 members, according to Morzello. She said that with the club she has seen many different places and walked in all 50 states, but it is the people that really make it worth it for her.

“They are 300 people that I would not have met otherwise,” she said.

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