Cathy Russell’s first foray into the Indiana State Games occurred in 2018 when she and husband Pat were 52 and 53, respectively. Immediately, they were hooked.
“If I were retired, I would do all the events,” she says.
Cathy, a senior business resilience and disaster recovery analyst for Atlas Van Lines, competes in cornhole and pickleball, as well as shuffleboard with Pat, a systems analyst with CenterPoint Energy, while he tackles table tennis. While the goal of the games is to help adults over age 50 stay mo- bile and active, competitions were familiar since Cathy had participated in Evansville Parks and Recreation Department programs for more than 30 years.
The Indiana State Games serve as a qualifier for the National Senior Games. Nineteen of the 24 events available at the state level are included in nationals. Every other year of the games is a qualifying year, allowing the top four athletes in each event and age range, in five year increments, to advance. Cathy and Pat have qualified for nationals in shuffleboard in 2018 and both shuffleboard and pickleball in 2021 and 2023.
“Most people aren’t concerned with going to nationals,” says Cathy, a North High School and University of Southern Indiana alum. “Even if you aren’t athletic, there are things you can do. But for some people, nationals is their ultimate goal. It’s amazing that people do that.”
Despite qualifying, the couple have never attended nationals because of scheduling conflicts, but they hope to once they retire.
This year is a non-qualifying year for the Indiana State Games. Evansville hosts most state-level events June 8-16, with pickleball taking place Aug. 4-6 and swim- ming on Aug. 13. Competitions are open to public spectators and supporters. The National Senior Games are slated for July 7-18 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.