SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Senior Women’s Basketball Association is starting a new Carlsbad-based league for players beyond their prime.

“One of the beauties of this league is that I’m a young whipper snapper. We have women 50-97,” says Karen Blair, leader of the association.

Karen Blair, who’s 58-years-old, leads the Senior Women’s Basketball (SWB) league. While partnering with Carlsbad By the Sea retirement community, she’s helping to show people age is just a state of mind.

“We want people to realize that when they retire and when they get older, that they have an opportunity to stay active,” said Blair. “We believe that you don’t stop at any age. If you love something, keep doing it.”

The Chicago native turned Valley Center resident, plans to participate on both sides of the sideline. 

“I can play. I can coach. We all help each other,” said Blair.

For some experienced players, like former high school MVP Mary Krakowski, joining this league is a dream come true. The Carlsbad by the Sea resident hasn’t played basketball since 1968.

“I’ve always wanted to play basketball again. So when I heard that the team was going start up here in North County, I didn’t even think about it — I said yes!” said Krakowski.

For the other ladies involved, experience levels vary. Players with little experience are in luck. Before the first game on Sept. 13, there will be a four-week training period to get them up to speed.

“Just because I played basketball doesn’t mean you have to know basketball. In fact, one of the women here today, never played basketball,” said Blair.

Once the ladies officially take the court, they’ll play in front of fans. This is something those who played in the Mission Valley Basketball League are used to.

“We don’t get huge crowds but it’s fun. I had my grandchildren and I heard them say, ‘go grandma.’ It’s so fun hearing those little voices,” said Jeanne Herlihy, of SWB.

For more information, visit the San Diego Senior Women’s Basketball Association website.