Glenda Cantrell started playing basketball when she was in grammar school at Irving College.
And she’s never stopped.
Now 79, Cantrell can celebrate earning three gold medals and one bronze at the Tennessee Senior Olympics in Brentwood in late June.
“I played all the way through graduation and kept going after that,” said Cantrell, now a Rock Island resident. “I play anytime I can, as long as I can find someone to play with. We have a weekly game every Tuesday in Cookeville at a Baptist church there.
Playing with a team called the Age Defyers, Cantrell went undefeated at the Senior Olympics in the 75-79 age division. Basketball games are played 3-on-3 and are halfcourt.
“I’m too short to go in the post,” said Cantrell when asked to describe her game. “I stay outside and shoot. You have to be careful when you go inside.”
In addition to winning gold as a team with Age Defyers, Cantrell competed in individual events. She earned gold medals in 3-point shooting and in hot shot shooting. She earned a bronze medal in free throw shooting.
The Camaro-driving Cantrell likes to play basketball and watch it too. She admits she’s a huge Lady Vols fan and recently won a basketball during a trip to the Pigeon Forge area. She played a festival-type game and made six shots to win the basketball, she says.
When asked to provide words of advice, Cantrell said, “Just keep on playing. It’s what keeps me going. Exercise helps so much to keep you happy and healthy. If everyone would keep exercising, I think it would really help.”
Cantrell said she’s been asked by a friend if she would like to play in the National Senior Olympics in Florida in the spring of 2022. By that time she would be 80 and competing in the 80-84 age division.
“I don’t know if I’ll go,” said Cantrell. “It’s something I’ll have to think about.”