Barry Bernson discovers the secret of staying young may be on the softball field - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Barry Bernson discovers the secret of staying young may be on the softball field

It's been said if you carry your childhood with you, you never become older.  Barry Bernson discovered that's the secret of one Louisville ball-player.

Another glorious morning for Louisville's boys of summer -- more accurately, the Grandpas of Summer -- the Metro Parks Senior Softball League.  League Commissioner Al Benninger says, "The average age out here is 72. We have 140 players 62 and over."

Don Pendleton plays a pretty good third base.  He's 70 years old.  Nice, isn't it, that he can still play with his dad?  Yes, Joe Pendleton plays first base -- at the age of 90.

As Benninger tells us, "Joe's by far the oldest we've ever had -- and the next oldest is about 80."  When Joe started playing ball, Calvin Coolidge was president, and Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb were in their primes.  He explains that his glove, "is about 40-50 years old, something like that. It's only the second glove I've ever had in my life."

Teammate Billy Lopez says, "It's amazing, he's amazing, the determination he's got -- and the love of the game."

Joe's a retired factory worker, an ex-Marine who still keeps a competitive edge for Terry Key's senior league team.  Key explains, "He does everything for us. He coaches bases, he can play, he's 90 years old and he's just an example for all of us....Yeah, us 65-year-old kids!"

Joe also is a bowler, a golfer, and a great-grandfather.  "How many is there, Carol?" he asks. "Seventeen or eighteen great-grandkids?"

Benninger says, "It's just remarkable to see a guy that old play that well...and have that much fun."  But Joe says, "Well, when you love the game, you like to play.  What are you gonna do? I'm not gonna sit home and die.  I might die, but it ain't gonna be from sittin' around....I want to keep going.  I might drop dead right here, but I want to keep going as long as I can."

After this many seasons, how long does Joe Pendleton think he can keep going?  "'Til I can't walk.  I can't run fast, you seen that, but at least I run."

And if Joe Pendleton has a philosophy of life, it comes from his philosophy of softball: "You play your own game. You don't worry about what the other one does. I did my best."

Joe's best is what inspires his teammates.  However many at-bats he has left, when he does go down, he'll go down swinging.

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