Fellowship and competition

Apr. 25, 2013 @ 06:53 PM

Fifty-seven seniors from five different counties were in high spirits Thursday morning competing in the N.C. Senior Games at Aycock Recreation Center.

In partnership with a focus on health and wellness, Vance County participates in the Senior Games, a year-round health promotion and education program for North Carolinians 55 years of age and better.

Today, there are over 60,000 participants in 53 local games, serving all 100 counties across the state.

Vance County rotates hosting the games with Granville, Warren, Franklin and Person counties between the months of March and May. Closing ceremonies will be held in Warren County.

Each county offers different sporting events, which range from shuffleboard and billiards, to track and field events such as the 100-meter dash and discus throw. Thursday’s action at Aycock included table tennis, badminton and croquet.

“Where the sports are is kind of determined by the facility,” said Susan Tucker, administrative assistant at the Vance County Senior Center. “Nobody else has a gym big enough to do badminton and table tennis.”

The games operate through a group effort between three different organizations, including the Vance County Senior Center, Vance County Parks and Recreation and Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments.

“Kerr-Tarr, they oversee all the games,” Tucker explained. “Each event is organized by the county where it occurs.

“This event, Vance parks and recreation organizes, with senior center support.”

Sears Bugg from Warrenton competed in badminton on Thursday.

“My brother and I got to play club sports, badminton back in college,” Bugg said. “So that’s where we learned the fundamentals of badminton.”

Bugg has been participating in the Senior Games for five years, during which time he’s also competed in racquetball, basketball and volleyball.

He considers badminton to be a hobby of his, and began practicing with Vance County native Sam White after noticing a picture of him competing at the Senior Games’ state finals.

“I saw him about five years ago in the News & Observer, and I saw he was from Henderson, N.C.,” Bugg said. “I found his name in the phone book, and called him and said I need to practice with you.

“He started coming to Warrenton about five years ago.”

Competing in table tennis was Joan Edmonds from Vance County.

Every Wednesday at the Vance County Senior Center, Edmonds teaches Wii bowling, an interactive video game developed and published by Nintendo.

“I’m 71 years old,” Edmonds said. “I just stay so busy.

“Every Wednesday I started teaching seniors the Wii game. Every Wednesday it’s like they can’t wait for Wednesday, and then we do competitions.

“Last year we did a competition between us and Warren County and we won.”

Outdoors, Jerri Swann from Person County looked on as seniors enjoyed a croquet match.

For some, the Senior Games are regarded as a highly competitive event.

Receiving first, second or third place finishes in any given sporting event means a trip to the state level competition. Advancement to the national Senior Games is then possible with a first, second or third place finish at the state level.

For others, the Senior Games provide a time for fellowship and fun.

“I just have fun doing it,” Swann said.

Swann stood outdoors observing a croquet game Thursday morning. It’s an event she’s unfamiliar with, but plans to participate in next year.

“I’m not there to win, I’m just here to have fun,” Swann said. “If I win it’s fine, if I don’t it’s fine.

“No biggie.”

Contact the writer at abentley@hendersondispatch.com.