Photo Credit: Frank Bellino, The Press Enterprise Staff Photographer

This week we bring you three seniors who know how to stay active and engaged in life, with life-long learning, football, and competition. Caregivers, seniors and home care aides all know that dreams, goals and that competitive fire can keep loved ones healthy and independent.

Jack Burroughs, of Hemet, is a star athlete, or a pool shark. Or both. For years, Jack has been competing in the Oldlympics, the San Joaquin Valley’s premier sporting event for the 50-and-up crowd. Events include swimming, golf, tennis, bowling, weightlifting, track and field, card games, shuffleboard, and of course, billiards. At 103, Jack regularly trounces competitors nearly half his age, and in 2005, he beat everyone in the A tier – where all the other sharks were grouped. Not surprisingly, Jack is a big fan of Paul Newman in ‘The Hustler’. The games run between mid-September and early October, and nearly 300 people signed up for the various 2016 events. Jack says that at 103, he’s lost a beat or two, but his competition is still impressed.

Centenarian Mathilde Freund, New York City resident, Holocaust survivor, and Fordham University’s oldest student, returns this semester to Fordham’s College After 60 program. Mathilde turned 100 over the summer, and is clearly not resting on her many laurels. She speaks six languages, was a vendor in the Grand Bazaar on the Upper West Side of Manhattan for 30 years, and donates the proceeds from her still-active business to charity. Mathilde is taking a class called “Studies in Social Science on the Brink of Cultural Breakthroughs,” and opines that reading, staying curious, and engaging with the world is the best way to keep the mind young. President Obama and the City of New York sent her birthday wishes on the big day, but she says that she is just like everyone else. Despite her losses during the war and the ups and downs of the last 100 years, she says the only thing that would ruin her life is bitterness.

Former USC and LA Rams quarterback Jim Hardy is thrilled that Rams football has returned to LA, but his real passion is USC’s Trojans. At 93, he drives two hours each week to watch his alma mater’s team practice, and never misses a home game. Hardy led the Trojans to two Rose Bowls in 1944 and 1945, and is waiting for the team to win another championship. After playing for the Rams, the Cardinals and the Lions, Jim Hardy retired as a player, and became manager of the Coliseum Commission. Before the NFL and AFL announced a merger in 1966, he worked with Walter O’Malley of the Dodgers to bring an AFL expansion team to Dodgers Stadium, but the unification of the league put the kibosh on that. Who knew LA might have had two teams all those years ago? Hardy is healthy, active and on a regular exercise program, as he plans to be there when the Trojans win it all again.