Senior-center athlete from Wilkinsburg going strong at almost 80
Robert Yee doesn't stop moving for very long. Even during a sit-down interview, he talks with his hands and is in constant motion.
That might help explain why, at 78, the Wilkinsburg resident still manages senior-league softball in Penn Hills, serves as a pinch runner for his championship team — “They called me the Orient Express,” he said — and still works part-time engineering replacement windows at Bon-Air Products on Sandy Creek Road.
“God blessed me with strong legs and good health,” Yee said.
His most recent accomplishment is bringing back four medals from last month's Citiparks Winter Senior Games.
Yee won gold medals in shuffleboard and darts, and silver medals in a hockey shootout and his favorite event, table tennis.
He began playing table tennis as a teenager at summer camps, now plays twice a week at the Penn Hills Senior Center on Jefferson Road and said that as he has gotten older, it has helped him maintain his hand-eye coordination and quickness.
“I've loved to play (table tennis) all my life, but I'd never competed against people my age,” Yee said. “It was nice to compete and win a table-tennis medal for the first time.”
But it's hardly Yee's first year on the Citiparks medal stand. He has attended the Winter Games the past nine years, and brought a bag containing more than 20 medals to a recent interview.
“I really enjoy the thrill of victory,” he said.
Citiparks Program Supervisor Ray Fisher said the Winter Games this year drew about 300 senior athletes.
“Robert's one of the more active participants,” Fisher said, adding that the Winter Games — and their counterpart, the Citiparks Summer Games, which take place annually in June — are more than just a chance for seniors to get some exercise in a friendly competition.
“Along with the physical part of it and the competitive part, there is also the social aspect of the games,” he said. “A lot of folks come back every year, and I've watched them move up in age groups over the years. It's very gratifying and rewarding to see that it's been pretty popular.”
Too small to be an athlete when he was attending the now-defunct Fifth Avenue High School in Pittsburgh, Yee is enjoying the camaraderie with fellow seniors and competition at the Citiparks games.
He said he'll keep attending — on one condition.
“As long as it doesn't interfere with softball,” he said. “Softball comes first.”
Patrick Varine is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7845 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Imagine keeps an eye on charter court case
- Penn Hills School board re-hires tennis coach
- PHSD kicks off year with new elementary
- Detroit man dies following Frankstown Road shooting
- Penn Forest will host Outdoor Classroom