81-year-old Rochester man retires from 45-year volleyball career

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(ABC 6 News) – It’s not very often you hear of an 81-year-old retiring from a sport.

Monday night was a special night for Rochester native Stanley Dodge who decided to serve his last game of volleyball.

The sport has occupied Dodge’s Monday nights for the last 45 years and at the age of 81, he has decided to retire from both farming and volleyball.

“I thought if I retired from farming I better retire from volleyball,” he said. “Oh, I don’t know I guess I just feel like it’s time.”

Born and raised in Rochester, Dodge has lived on the same farm in Rochester for 76 years. He was in the first graduating class out of John Marshall High School and has been farming with his dad since before he graduated.

Dodge said about 45 years ago, someone invited him to a church to play volleyball. He enjoyed it and the rest is history.

“Well, a long time. They had 45 years but I don’t remember how old I was when I started,” he said.

He is known for his serving skills.

“I used to serve overhand but now I can’t anymore. I can barely get it over underhand,” Dodge said.

He spent his Monday nights in the summer playing with people in their twenties and thirties while taking games indoors for the winter months.

“And I’m a pretty poor player. I always was a pretty poor player,” he said.

But he was a dedicated one. Ask his wife Susan Dodge who said when she was in labor, Stanley was playing volleyball.

A cancer survivor himself with frequent trips to Mayo Clinic, he said “They always ask me at the Mayo Clinic ‘Have you fallen in the last year?'” He has, but just in the sand. He even dove for a ball on his last night in the game.

When asked if volleyball felt like it kept him young, he said “Well I don’t know about that.”

But one thing he does know is that it’s been fun.