By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
In senior tournaments using college rules and featuring former NBA players Tim Hardaway, Greg Kite, Mitchell Wiggins and Wali Jones, Sambuca's teams have consistently swept their age groups. Led by MVP Bill Berringer, a former quarterback at Colorado State, the Over-65 team beat Argentina by 17 points to win in Puerto Rico. Chauffeured around in a restored 1942 military jeep, Sambuca also walloped opponents from Brazil, Chile, Russia and Latvia. It has won four of the last five U.S. Championships, captured world titles in Orlando (2003) and New Zealand (2005) and will be monumental favorites in 2009 major tournaments in Sydney, Australia and the Czech Republic capital of Prague. Sambuca Over-65 is so dominant, in fact, it's considering entering the younger Over-60 event in an attempt to level the court.
"The disparity between the U.S. Olympic teams and their competition 40 and 50 years ago is the same with us," Forsythe says. "We're playing the guys that lagged behind then, and our generation is still superior now."
Which is all the more impressive when you digest that Sambuca is indeed older than peach baskets. The players don't suck strained peas through a straw, but they did learn the game in an era of The Shirelles' "Soldier Boy" rather than some rap teen's "Soulja Boy." Their wives are named Doris, Mabel and Edna; their exploits more likely to be chronicled in GeezerJock Magazine than Senator Mitchell's Steroid Report.
With the American life expectancy hovering around 77, it seems unrealistic that even handfuls of Viagra and a belly full of vigor will fuel Forsythe and his hyperactive AARP members to continued world dominance. But then again, later this month 77-year-old Dick Clark will rock in another New Year.
Out with the old. In with the...old.