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Tradition & Competition WHY I LOVE COLLEGE FOOTBALL
I can’t recall a time when I wasn’t a football fan. Growing up in Southwest Iowa, we didn’t have endless entertainment options, and, before the internet, we didn’t have a way to transcend our physical location and construct our own realities. We had to make do with what was around. And one of those things, thankfully, was eight-man football. For as long as I can remember, my father took me to games, and I absolutely loved it. Long before I knew what a zone defense was, I knew I was a football fan. It’s a passion that continues to this day, particularly in the form of my love for college football. In fact, I enjoy it so much that I get excited when I can feel the summer air cooling and autumn on the horizon. While most people view this part of the year as a move away from summer, I see it as a progression toward college football season. You may be wondering why I prefer college to the pros. I think it comes down to that word “professional.” The NFL, by virtue of its size and power as a business, benefits from keeping things as uniform as
possible. The experience at each stadium is pretty similar, whether you’re in Glendale or Green Bay. The NFL is a well-oiled machine to its credit and profit, but it lacks the personality, charm, and tradition of the college game. Don’t get me wrong, NCAA football is big business, but it still retains some of the upstart pluck of old-school amateur sports. Case in point is my team, the University of Colorado Buffaloes. We haven’t been competitive on the national stage in many years, but that doesn’t stop students and fans alike from pouring into Folsom Field on Saturdays. It certainly doesn’t hurt that the stadium is gorgeous, with views of the Rockies to take your breath away. We’re lucky enough to have season tickets, and we normally catch at least six or so games per year. It doesn’t matter if the Buffs are undefeated or winless, you’ll see us in the stands. Last year, we had the privilege to travel to some friends’ in Baton Rouge and attend the Alabama-LSU game. If you think UC football is a big deal, let me tell you that it’s
got nothing on the SEC. The atmosphere at that stadium was nothing short of electric. It’s the type of place where people begin tailgating for a night game before the sun even comes up. You can tell that everybody with a pulse in the surrounding area is tuned into the game. Even if they weren’t, they could figure out what’s going on simply by judging the screams in the stadium. We’ve decided to get another SEC experience this year, heading back to our friends’ for the Florida-LSU game. I can only imagine what the energy will be like if the Tigers can get a win. There’s so much I love about football. From the tactical chess match of the defense adapting to the offense to the intense competitiveness the players bring to the field, it’s a sport unlike any other. I may not be able to say when my passion for football began, but I can safely assert that it remains in place to this day. Let the games begin, and, of course, GO BUFFS!
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Moving in Unison
JEAN AND BRIAN’S ACTIVE RETIREMENT
“It’s really addicting,” Jean adds.
In addition to playing in Colorado, the Leikhuses head down to Quail Creek in Arizona during the winter, where they belong to an active 55-plus community. “We did a guest stay program at Quail Creek,” Brain says. “It didn’t take us long to realize we wanted to be part of a community of folks our age who wanted to stay active and have fun.” Being part of that community and keeping up with lifelong friends in Colorado allow Brian and Jean to stay social and be in great shape. “I think the key to enjoying retirement is picking things you want to do and pursuing them with discipline,” Jean says. “In addition to playing sports, I garden, and I love yoga, but the list goes on. Finding activities you love to do is so important.”
Quail Creek medal winners at the Mexico International Pickleball Tournament
After 34 years of federal service, Jean Liekhus retired on Dec. 31, 2011. At the time, she was serving as a WIC director for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a job she deeply enjoyed and had worked hard to achieve. Jean’s retirement, then, wasn’t entirely of her own volition. “I did not feel like my work was complete when I retired, but I was at a time in my life when I had the means to, and my mother was suffering from Alzheimer’s,” Jean recalls. “Sometimes, you have to respond when life calls you.”
In Brian’s case, his love of pickleball (and, while he’s too humble to admit it, his skill at it) has created some once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. Just recently, the couple traveled to San Carlos, Mexico, so Brian could play in a tournament. “It was amazing to see people from all over the world coming together to play this little game we all love,” he says. “I certainly never would’ve guessed that playing in international athletics tournaments would be part of my retirement, but I’m so glad that it is.”
The Mexico International Pickleball Tournament in San Carlos
Aside from enjoying Champagne and orange juice on the first morning of her post-work life, Jean didn’t have much time to decide what the beginning of her retirement would look like. She cared for her mother and began transitioning to a life after her career. Sadly, Jean’s mother passed two years after Jean retired. It was then that Jean and her husband, Brian, began to ask what was next. Aside from traveling, which the couple knew would be an integral part of their retirement, they turned to athletics to provide structure and excitement to their lives. “Being active and playing sports are what get us up in the morning,” Brian says. “It’s our major source of fun. It also doesn’t hurt that being active and using your mind, two things sports make you do, help to fight the signs of dementia and Alzheimer’s, conditions that run in both of our families.” While Jean has taken to golf , Brian has found a newer sport to call his own, pickleball. “We were introduced to the sport through some friends,” he remembers. “Eventually, we met Pickleball Ken, a prominent member of the Colorado pickleball community, through pure coincidence. At the time, we were working to secure grants to build 16 courts at Apex in Arvada. We’ve been playing ever since.”
Brian Liekhus and Dave Mungo (a former federal gov. employee) at Quail Creek Pickleball courts for the Senior Games Tournament
Brian and Jean’s retirement is proof that when you pursue your passions and seize opportunities, retirement can be an adventure full of wonderful surprises.
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Title The Anti-Aging Benefits of Free Weights STAY TONED BY LIFTING WEIGHTS AT HOME
In her best-selling lifestyle guide “French Women Don’t Get Fat,” Mireille
machines, use resistance bands, or do exercises with your own body weight (like push-ups and sit-ups), you build strength, muscle mass, and flexibility.” You don’t have to join a gym to reap the benefits though; just pick up a set of free weights and a resistance band and research how to safely use them in your own home. Bodybuilding.com recommends designing a workout routine that includes one or two exercises for each of the major muscle groups: legs, back, shoulders, arms, chest, and abs. Try eight to ten repetitions per set, but don’t push yourself to use heavy weights. Even options that are ten pounds or less should be enough to keep you chasing after your grandchildren for years to come. One public figure who has taken the weightlifting creed to heart is Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The documentary “RBG” shows the 86-year-old judge at the gym, pumping lightweight iron with her personal trainer, and she even walked spring chicken Stephen Colbert through her routine on “The Late Show.” Ginsburg has called her trainer “the most important person” in her life apart from her family, which is a ringing endorsement for lifting weights if ever there was one.
Guiliano advises women in their 50s to invest in a set of free weights — nothing too heavy, perhaps three to five pounds — in order to maintain their toned, youthful appearance and range of motion. She notes that lifting weights isn’t entirely necessary during your 20s and 30s, but it’s essential to maintain muscle tone and bone density in your later years. Though Guiliano’s evidence is anecdotal, the science confirms that lifting weights can be an indispensable aid for healthy aging in both men and women. A study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information recommends strength training two to three times per week to lower your risk of health problems and preserve bone density, independence, and vitality. According to WebMD, “Muscle loss is one of the main reasons people feel less energetic as they get older. When you lift weights, work out on
Classic Apple Crisp
Inspired by Food Network
Topping: • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour • 1/3 cup brown sugar • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon • 1/4 tsp salt
Filling: • 5 lbs Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and chopped • 1/4 cup pecans, finely chopped • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
• 2 tbsp maple syrup • 1 tbsp lemon juice
• 6 tbsp chilled butter, cut into pieces • 1/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1. Heat oven to 350 F. 2. In a mixing bowl, mix all filling ingredients together. Transfer to individual serving ramekins. 3. In a different mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt for the topping. Mix in butter until it forms lumps roughly the size of a pea, then stir in pecans. Sprinkle topping over filling. 4. Bake for 35–40 minutes, let stand for 10 minutes, and serve.
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issue INSIDE THIS My Favorite Sport PAGE 1
Who Says You Can’t Become an Athlete in Retirement? PAGE 2
Stay Toned by Lifting Weights at Home PAGE 3
The Vibrant Colors of America’s National Parks PAGE 4
THE BEST NATIONAL PARKS TO VISIT THIS FALL
Have you ever wanted to experience the colors of a New England fall while enjoying the peace and tranquility of the great outdoors? Autumn leaves are a universally appreciated sign of the changing seasons, and there’s no better place to see those vibrant yellows, oranges, and reds on display than in one of America’s national parks. So, if you’ve got some free time this autumn, here are some parks worth seeing. ACADIA NATIONAL PARK, MAINE While the maple, birch, and poplar trees of Acadia begin to change color in September, mid-October is the best time to witness autumn in full swing. The park is crisscrossed with unpaved trails that date back to a time of horse-drawn carriages, preserving an idyllic setting. If you want to see the colors in full effect, take a drive to the top of Cadillac Mountain, the highest point
along the North Atlantic seaboard, and watch the sun crest over the vibrant leaves. To fully experience fall in the Northeastern U.S., Acadia National Park is a must-see. GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK, TENNESSEE AND NORTH CAROLINA Further south, the autumn colors of the Smoky Mountains are no less breathtaking than those in the Northeast. This park offers many scenic lookout points accessible by car, so don’t worry about hoofing it into the forest if that’s not your thing. Park and watch the warm colors of ancient maples, oaks, and other hardwoods change before your eyes. GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK, WYOMING While the West might typically be associated with evergreens, the deciduous trees of the relatively small Grand Teton National Park pack a colorful punch starting around the third week of September. It’s also breeding season for elk in the area, and their high, eerie whistles can be heard in the evenings. Popular destinations in the park include the Christian Pond Loop and String Lake. Just because the weather is cooling down doesn’t mean you have to abandon your favorite national parks until next summer. The natural beauty of America can be experienced at any time of the year, so start planning your next autumn outdoor excursion!
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