Someone You Should Know: Keeping them laughing in chair volleyball league

Elmer Burgers is this week's Someone You Should Know
Published: Mar. 31, 2022 at 7:50 AM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Elmer Burgers is a spry 94-year old.

“Same as hamburgers. But you leave the ham off. I’ve got my name in neon lights all over Sioux Falls,” said Elmer.

Elmer is the unofficial activities coordinator at the Prairie Creek Senior Living Community.

“Kind of a social nut. But leave the nut off. But I’m social,” said Elmer.

He’s one of this group, which includes 99-year-old Ken Carlson, who plays chair volleyball three days a week.

“I think they realize that this is group that laughs more than anybody, any activity here,” said Elmer.

“He also has the longest arms of anyone I know. He can hit a ball that’s way out of range but he gets it,” said Jan Peters.

It’s of course great upper body exercise. But it’s the socialization, the fact that we enjoy each other,” said Norm Eitrheim

They play with a beach ball. Instead of keeping score, the goal is to see how many times they can it it back over the net, back and forth.

“Oh it’s really hard,” said Jan.

“It doesn’t hurt you if it hits you on the head, or anything like that,” said Elmer.

They play the game with gloves on, which became necessary.

“We were having to put patches on the balls all the time. We didn’t know if it was because of diamond rings, or it was because of long fingernails. But then we decided to wear gloves and that has really helped a lot,” said Elmer.

It gets competitive. And Elmer, who was the youngest of ten growing up on a farm near Colton, keeps them laughing.

“My folks kept trying until they got a perfect one, then they quit,” said Elmer.

“Sometimes we laugh with him, and other times we laugh at him,” said Norm.

“And I always say laughter is good medicine,” said Elmer.

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