TODAY

TODAY   |  September 04, 2013

Play ball! Seniors find youth in sports

Rich Luker hadn’t played a sport in years, but when the 60-year-old finally got back on the field, he found the vitality of youth on the field, an experience shared by other baby boomers taking up sports later in life.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we are back with life reimagined, today. today contributor jane pauley has been working with aarp which produced a series of reports for us. this morning jane is here. great to see you.

>> hey, willie. he is a social psychologist and one of america's foremost experts on how americans use our free time . for years he studied what other people did until he found the courage to get in the game. here's richard's life reimagined.

>> strike 3, you're out.

>> it's funny because you think about it, it's softball. how can anything be that important?

>> these are the boys of autumn. everyone, 50 to 75 years old. rich luker is not retired.

>> not in the least.

>> but he finds time to play three mornings a week.

>> time is the most important thing in life. i really believe that.

>> why hadn't you done this before? given what you do for a living?

>> he has been called the father of sports research.

>> it's a funny thing. i've done a lot within the sports industry to encourage people to play and i never listen to myself.

>> and maybe me ever outgrew an old imagine of himself.

>> i never thought i could do it other. i'm not a large guy. i'm a skinny guy.

>> but five years ago on a business call he walked by the park.

>> i'm seeing these guys playing and they're my age and i'm pretty sure i hung up without even saying good-bye. every part of my being said i had to do it. i immediately walked up and said how does a person become part of this.

>> he was ready to get in the game, almost.

>> i start running. i'm stretching. my muscles hadn't done this throwing thing in so long. next door neighbor's kid is 10 years old and said do you want to play catch? i said no. i said give me a couple of days and maybe.

>> reporter: finally it was time to play ball .

>> i go back and say i'm ready. he says good, get out in the field.

>> reporter: and these guys are good.

>> first game is three for five with a triple. second game two for three. and the third game i got a double. i rounded second base. was playing shortstop and came over and tapped me on the shoulder and said nice play, kid. it doesn't get any better than that.

>> how did you find the strength to take your life in a new direction?

>> i saw the guys 50 to 75. they had done what i didn't have the courage to do. i'm practicing what i'm preaching and i'm doing it on two fronts. jane, i just had this realization, my whole life and my work has been the ones, twos, the threes. it's the statistics. i found courage because i saw it in somebody else doing it. these people had taken the priority to say this is something i'm going to do. do it very often and do it with a bunch of guys i like. the number of people who are like me is growing expoints higher -- expoints highnetially. you tell a friend and they tell two friends and so on.

>> what advice would you give someone looking to reinvent their lives?

>> the more courageous earlier. it's that thing we don't regret what we've done. we regret what we dinlt do.

>> i want to know how old are you?

>> i'm 60 going on 11 and love it.

>> there's another league in st. petersburg for guys over 75. it's been going for 80 years. so boomers didn't invent this. but they spotted a significant new trend. according to his data, boomers are more interested in sports than they were in their 30s. the reality check, making the time. i hope you'll join me at 9:30 eastern when i'll be taking your questions on twitter. you can find me at janepauley janepauleytoday, #play.

>> pick up a glove and bat and play ball . he