Non-stop Action-but No 'Kid Stuff'-for 85-year-old

October 11, 1990

My neighbors thought I was a little backward, so they dragged me to the college," said John "Gil" Bateman about his first opportunity to get involved in the physical education classes at Anne Arundel Community College.

Twelve years later, the 85-year-old is still involved with classes at the college. Every Friday, Bateman participates in the 40-minute modified dance class. After aerobics he plays table tennis and basketball. If the weather is good, he goes outside to play tennis.

Bateman, who also bowls and walks, said exercise is important because it makes people feel good. He said he has noticed many older people improve with the exercise classes. Coach Alan Pastrana, who teaches the Friday morning class, said, "You've got to like Gil because he is so upbeat and positive. He has a kind word for everyone."

Pastrana, who believes that social interaction is one of the most important aspects of the senior physical education classes, attributes Bateman's longevity to his high standards for social interaction, courteousness and honesty.

According to Pastrana, Bateman, who is a retired barber, does well with games like tennis because he has good eye-hand coordination. In addition, he has maintained upper-arm and hand strength. Bateman attributes this to the outside work he does to keep up his waterfront home. "I work like a horse and I never get tired. Isn't that amazing?" said Bateman about his gardening and pruning activities.

Bateman lives alone, but his two brothers, who are 79 and 81, live next door. These two are roller-skaters.

"I don't do that. It's kid stuff," said Bateman.

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