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Boys of summer

Senior softball proves America’s pastime has no age limit

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April 11th, 2016
Highland Springs resident Blake Waterhouse

Highland Springs resident Blake Waterhouse

The Texas Rangers will host the Seattle Mariners at Globe Life Park on April 4, but they aren’t the only team preparing for their season opener.

Highland Springs resident Blake Waterhouse and his team, which plays on two national leagues and is sponsored by ProHealth Care, are gearing up for a new season of senior softball.

“I just turned 80, so I moved up to the 80–85 age bracket,” says Blake. “I’ll be the young guy on the team.”

Fulfilling career

Blake’s love of baseball dates back to his early years. He attended the University of Illinois on a basketball and baseball scholarship. 

After three years, he transferred to Indiana University to attend medical school. He completed his residency in internal medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

“I served in the Army Medical Corps for two years during the Vietnam War, then I joined a multi-specialty medical group in Madison, Wisc.,” says Blake.

He was the group’s medical director for ten years before assuming the role of president and CEO.

“I didn’t have a formal business background, so I took evening classes at the University of Wisconsin to earn an MBA,” says Blake. “My youngest daughter was also a student there, so I gave her a hard time about going to school with her dad.”

After 25 years in Wisconsin, Blake accepted a new role as president and CEO of the largest vertically integrated private health care system in Hawaii. 

“I started playing softball in Hawaii,” says Blake. “Our organization had softball teams that played in the city league. I was in my fifties playing with guys in their twenties, but it was the best thing I ever did. It allowed me to really get to know our employees.”

No slowing down in retirement

Blake retired after 13 years in Hawaii. He and his wife Audrey moved to Plano, Tex., to be near three of their four daughters.

In October 2015, Blake and Audrey moved to Willow Ridge, a new residence building at Highland Springs.

What sets Highland Springs apart

“We looked at a number of continuing care retirement communities in the area, and we could sense that the culture at Highland Springs is different,” says Blake. “Staff and residents are friendly and inclusive, and the community itself has just the right amenities.”

The couple chose a two-bedroom, two-bath, Wellington-style apartment home with a sunroom.

“Our apartment has windows on three sides, so we love the natural light,” says Blake. 

In addition to the on-site fitness center and medical center, both invaluable for staying active and healthy, Blake says he appreciates the maintenance-free lifestyle of Highland Springs.

“We spend the summers in Wisconsin, so it’s easy to lock our door and go,” he says.

Loving the game

Blake’s softball team is based in Wisconsin, but they have players from seven states and Canada.

“Players are asked to practice each week wherever they are living, and then we meet up all over the country for national tournaments,” says Blake. “Each year, we play in nine or ten tournaments organized by two national associations—the Softball Players Association and Senior Softball USA.”

Similar to baseball, senior softball has A, AA, AAA, and majors classifications. Teams are put together based on five-year increments. This year, Blake will play on an 80-85 major team.

“I’ve always loved sports,” he says. “It’s fun to get out there and enjoy the game.”

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