Northborough – When most people think of the Olympic Games, images of young athletes in their prime competing on a world stage come to mind. Davis Cox, a Northborough resident, has set out to promote a different kind of Games: the Massachusetts Senior Games, an annual event in which any active adults 40 years and older can compete in a range of sports, including track and field, swimming, basketball, tennis, archery and pistol shooting.
Cox has wanted to be a decathlete since he was seven years old. Now, at 75, his journey to becoming one has just started. As the newly appointed state ambassador of the Massachusetts Senior Games, Cox said, “My major role is to bring awareness to the state of Massachusetts that the [Massachusetts Senior Games] exist.”
He plans to achieve his goal by recruiting a network of ambassadors across the state and creating public service announcements through local cable TV and media coverage.
Cox is currently creating a video that provides information about the history and purpose of the Senior Games, which are also referred to as the Senior Olympic Games. Ambassadors will then broadcast the video on public cable television stations across the state.
Cox hopes that the videos will raise the awareness of people who are over 40 years old and promote the idea that “they can still enjoy their sports and get recognition and have fun by participating.” In addition, he wants to enlighten the community on the benefits of the Senior Games to attract more athletes and sponsors. As the state ambassador, Cox enjoys meeting people and encouraging them to consider competing in the Games.
In June, Cox participated for the first time in the Games, which take place at Springfield College, where he competed in three events and medaled in one – the long jump. He qualified to compete in the long jump at the National Senior Games which are being held in Minneapolis in July 2015. The National Senior Games occur every two years in different locations.
Cox hopes to participate in the nationals.
“I definitely will be back to the Massachusetts Games,” he said.
An avid basketball player of 60 years, Cox played in high school and college.
“Basketball was my game,” he said.
Originally from West Virginia, Cox came to Massachusetts when he was in his mid-30s and played basketball for about 30 years at the Northborough Town Hall gym. Cox said he may even return to play pick-up basketball games in the gym now that he is in shape again.
Cox is determined to stay physically active, and he does not let obstacles stand in his way. At the Senior Games this summer, Cox had to throw the discus with his left arm since he has arthritis in his right. He also went through physical therapy to get his leg in shape to allow him to run. Three weeks before the Games he walked with a cane.
“That’s how important it is to me,” said Cox. “Retirement is not even part of my vocabulary.”
Cox really enjoys his new position and believes it gives him “a purpose, sense of value, and pride.”
“[The Senior Games are] just a great opportunity for somebody who enjoyed athletics in their youth to continue and get all those health benefits and all those medical benefits that come from participating,” said Cox, who is working with the managing director of the Senior Games, Larry Libow, to organize the events so that he can participate in more of the decathlon competitions. The decathlon involves three running, three jumping, and three throwing events in addition to low hurdles. To participate, Cox must learn to pole-vault.
Cox encourages anyone interested to become involved in athletics.
“My invitation is to all those former athletes out there, dust off those athletic shoes and get back into the game,” Cox said. “There’s nothing like it.”
Cox, who trains regularly at his fitness center, said that staying physically active is “the best prescription for health that there is. So that’s what’s in it for anybody.”
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