By Dave Topp
It was a dream come true for Dorinda “Dee” Schultz.
In June, Schultz, a former three-sport high school athlete and collegiate volleyball player, traveled to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to play in the 2019 National Senior Olympic games.
The spectacle features more than 90 events in more than 23 different sports.
“It's been a dream of mine for a long, long time,” said Schultz, whose Catonsville Community College team finished second in the nation in 1978.
Having moved to Lake Shore with her family in 1993, Schultz never lost her love for sports or competition. She can still be spotted today playing volleyball or wallyball at The Y in Pasadena or at Severna Park Racquetball Club.
Her enthusiasm for volleyball and drive for competition is so noticeable that she was invited to try out for a women's team at Volleyball House in Elkridge.
“I signed up for the team. I tried out for the team, and with a lot of work and effort, I made the team,” Schultz said.
There, she met a group of women who shared her passion for volleyball, and together they decided to attempt to qualify for the 2019 National Senior Olympics.
“We all had the same goal in mind and that was to go to the Olympics,” she said. “I've been wanting to do it since college, but I could never find the team.”
Team KRAY-Z successfully worked through the qualification process and earned a spot among 41 other teams in the women's 55-plus division. Schultz’s squad was among more than 3,000 athletes who traveled to New Mexico for the National Senior Olympics, which spanned from June 14-23.
This was the first experience at this level for Schultz and her teammates.
“You can tell that all those teams, this was not their first time at the Olympics,” she said. “Very, very competitive. I think this being our first time made it difficult for us to be successful.”
Despite not earning a medal during the games, Schultz and her teammates left New Mexico buzzing over the experience.
“It was a dream of a lifetime to have had the experience,” she said. “Everybody there is so nice. It's as if you've known them for years, because everyone is there for the same purpose. Albuquerque went out of their way to make us feel welcome.”
When she arrived home, her son, Danny, presented her with a gold medal that read “To our Olympic champion” on the back.
“My family and friends have been incredibly supportive during this experience,” Schultz said.
The next National Senior Olympics is two years away, yet Schultz is already thinking about another shot. She may return to the volleyball court or try an individual sport like running. Whatever she decides, the competitor in her will be ready.