Still strong: Senior Games keeps local 100-year-olds engaged

Published 12:05 am Saturday, June 17, 2023

SALISBURY — Most people assume as they get older, they won’t have the energy or the ability to do their favorite kinds of activities. However, Hazel O. Trexler-Campbell, 100, and Mary Dodge, 101, can’t be bothered to think that way, they’re too busy competing and winning medals.

Both Trexler-Campbell and Dodge are from Rowan County and have been participating in the Senior Games well into their old age so that they can continue to stay active and healthy. Being able to play and learn new sports at 100 years old takes a lifetime of practice, moving around and being careful not to fall into any harmful habits. Neither Trexler-Campbell or Dodge have ever drank alcohol or smoked cigarettes and they keep simple philosophies to stay in such great shape.

“Keep moving,” Dodge said.

“I’m a firm believer in what we eat has a lot to do with our health, of course…I still got my own teeth,” Trexler-Campbell said.

Trexler-Campbell and Dodge have been playing all kind of sports for as long as they can remember. Trexler-Campbell grew up in a musical family where she learned to dance and credits basketball with helping her out in more ways than one.

“I’ll put it this way, I would’ve dropped out of school If I hadn’t started playing basketball,” Trexler-Campbell said.

When she was younger, Dodge also played basketball while she lived in Maine, but discovered golf through the years and really took a liking to it. “I’ve won quite a few trophies.” Recently, Dodge has taken up miniature golf so that she can still play one of her favorite sports. “I think it’s wonderful.”

At the Senior Games earlier this year, Trexler-Campbell took part in bocce, croquet, table tennis and shuffle board and earned a medal for her overall performance. She credits her “big hands” for her success at the games. Dodge won a gold medal for the softball throw and a silver medal for bocce. She started doing the games only three years ago and values all that it does for her.

“I think it gets you out and you see different people that you wouldn’t usually see and I think that has a lot to do with it,” Dodge said. “At my age, it gives you something to do and it inspires you to walk or do something that’s really hard to do.”

Both Trexler-Campbell and Dodge commit to staying in shape on a regular basis to make sure they are able to compete and do the things they love. Trexler-Campbell plays music and dances as an excuse to move around her house. “That’s what’s kept me alive is being able to keep on dancing,” Trexler-Campbell said.

Dodge believes a person shouldn’t just exercise the body, but also the mind. “I think the best thing at my age is that my mind is still good. In fact, I was just sitting in here doing a crossword puzzle,” Dodge said. She’s also a fan of sudoku.

There are a million factors on how a person lives for a century, but some seem pretty obvious. Yes, diet and exercising are very important, but having a positive attitude about life matter just as much. For both of these women to still want to seize each day helps others know that their future is what they make it.