80-year-old recreational lacrosse player inspiring team in San Francisco

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Thursday, February 29, 2024
80-year-old recreational lacrosse player inspiring team in SF
80-year-old San Francisco recreational lacrosse player Mike Held proves that age is just added motivation.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- There's a story of inspiration coming out of San Francisco and involving the oldest sport in North America, lacrosse.

There's a recreational adult league called ULAX that plays in Golden Gate Park and includes players of all ages.

Sunday night, young men could be seen competing with their lacrosse sticks at the Beach Chalet Athletic Fields in San Francisco.

Then there's the goalie, who was dressed in the yellow bullseye shirt. His name is Mike Held, and he's 80 years old.

"I've been playing lacrosse since 1960!" said Held, who is a longtime player and organizer.

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To the non-mathematicians out there, he's been playing for 64 years. That's longer than many of these lacrosse players have been alive.

"Good genes I guess!" said Held.

"It hurts enough when I get hit by lacrosse balls and I'm only in my 20s, so I can only imagine by the time you're 80, the bumps and bruises don't heal as quick," said teammate Peter Brydon.

"What's really cool is to see him, an 80-year-old man, playing this sport. This is a very dangerous sport," said John Sasaki, who reached out to us about his inspiring teammate.

Held told us he only stopped playing in the field and started playing goalie when he couldn't run anymore. That was last year back at the age of 79.

While we did see some him give up a couple of goals, the fact is, Held is out there and we watched him make several saves, too.

"As long as they'll have me here, I guess I'll continue to play like this, but slowly and surely lacrosse is going out of my life," said Held.

As for what's next for Held -- more lacrosse and some words of wisdom.

"You keep doing what you think you can do for as long as you can do it and then retire gracefully if you can. So I guess that's what my plan for life is," said Held with a smile.

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