Tennessee Valley Athletes Represent State In National Senior Games

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Horace Rice and James Sullivan are the perfect examples dedication and drive, and again prove age is nothing but a number.

At 69 years old, Rice has played tennis for more than 45 years, losing count of the number of tournaments he has played in his life. Only recently did he count the awards he’s racked up over the years (176, if you were wondering).

“I just became very excited about playing the game and fell in love with the game in my early teens,” said Rice.

He is headed to his 4th National Senior Games this year, along with friend James Sullivan.

Sullivan is considered a “Super Senior,” at the games. At 80 years old, this will be his first time at the games. His team has been state champions since 2007.

“I expect to bring back gold. I am not saying ‘if’, I am saying ‘when’,” said Sullivan.

His confidence is warranted. Sullivan has become accustomed to beating people half his age.

“This one young fellow about 35 came out, and when he saw me he burst out laughing and he probably said ‘well this is not going to be long’. And he was right, it wasn’t long. I beat him, and he was so disappointed and surprised,” said Sullivan, with a laugh.

Sullivan says tennis has given him something to be passionate about in his retirement. He and Rice have become inspirations to their family, friends, and those they meet on the court.

“They are telling me I am their role model and I am who they want to be like when they get 80 years old,” said Sullivan.

Rice’s first game is Sunday, July 21, with Sullivan heading up to Cleveland the following Monday.

The Games begin on July 19th.

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