Lopez competes at National Senior Games

Lopez competes at National Senior Games

Frank Lopez, a 56-year-old Jacksonville resident for nearly three decades, is leaving his mark on racquetball courts near and far. He has competed in the past two Florida Senior Games, placing first in 2021 for both the 55-59 Men’s Doubles and the 55-59 Men’s Singles. Last month, he went on to his first National Senior Games in Fort Lauderdale, competing in three divisions: Singles, Men’s Doubles, and Mixed Doubles.

“Racquetball has been a part of my life since I was 18 and has given me some very memorable experiences that have been very fulfilling,” he said.

In advance of the 2022 Games, Lopez was one of 12 athletes selected from a pool of 12,000 as a Humana Game Changer for his commitment to living a healthy, active lifestyle. It’s a national recognition of an athlete who exemplifies healthy aging and provides encouragement, motivation, and inspiration for all seniors. He was presented with a medal of honor at the David Posnack Jewish Community Center in Davie, Florida.

Lopez is now on a mission. “I have a passion for camaraderie that competitive racquetball offers and want to share that feeling with everyone,” he said.

A native New Yorker, Lopez spent his formative years in Puerto Rico, playing recreational sports like handball and softball. He hadn’t ever competed seriously until he started his career in the Navy at 17 years old. It was 1984. He and a group of friends, while stationed at Naval Air Station Miramar in San Diego, California, began playing racquetball. Lopez quickly excelled at the sport and was encouraged to compete. He went on to play locally, nationally, and internationally, wherever he traveled with the Navy.  

Hoping to inspire more Hispanic individuals to get involved in the sport of racquetball, in the 1990s, Lopez coached Puerto Rico’s team that competed against the US at the Pan American Games.

After serving in the military for 21 years, starting as an aircraft mechanic and ending his career as a Senior Chief Petty Officer, filling the role of Director of the Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program at Naval Submarine Base in Kings Bay, Georgia, Lopez went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Saint Leo University in 2003 and a double MBA in Finance/Accounting and Strategic Management from Jacksonville University in 2011.

In 2019, Lopez was diagnosed with prostate cancer and underwent surgery by a Naval surgeon at St. Vincent’s Southside Hospital. Two months later, he was back on the courts, indoors at LA Fitness locations in Orange Park and Kernan, outdoors at Crystal Springs Park.               

When he is not training and competing on the court, Lopez is working full-time at Grainger Industrial Supply, a Jacksonville-based company. His current title is Senior Manager of IT Operations of Frontline Operations. His responsibilities include providing services and solutions to US, Canada, Mexico, and Panama team members and customers. He has no plans to ever retire fully and no plans to ever stop playing racquetball.

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