Games urge seniors to compete

Apr. 08, 2014 @ 06:09 PM

Florine Davis stood in the Aycock Recreation Center on Tuesday, cane in hand, poised to hit a shuttlecock.

A year ago, the 82-year-old endured a stroke that hindered her from finishing. This year, neither illness nor bad weather could deter her — and more than 40 of her peers — from participating.

“I love it,” Davis said. “I have so many gold, silver and bronze medals that I can’t count them. I think it’s good exercise for me, and I get to see people I haven’t seen since last year.”

Seniors ages 50 to 90 years old arrived at the recreation center at 9 a.m. to play badminton and ping-pong, the second set of games for this year’s tournament.

Due to bad weather, croquet had to be rescheduled.

“Some of these seniors put me to shame,” said Melissa Catlett, family caregiver specialist of the sponsoring organization, Kerr Tar Regional Council of Governments, and this year’s coordinator of the games. “They are so fit.”

Ellen Jenkins, 74, is a retired physical education teacher who acts as a senior games ambassador and participant. In the past, she has gone on to represent the region by competing in state and national games of croquet.

“The experience is different for different people,” she said. “Some just come here to have a good time. Some are very competitive.”

This year’s regional games will feature 291 seniors from Person, Granville, Vance, Warren and Franklin counties.

The overall purpose of the senior games is to promote the health and wellness of seniors, according to Julie Allred, Aycock Recreation program supervisor, but participants have a chance to gain state and national titles in the process.

Various games — including bowling, track and field, golf and horseshoes — will be held throughout the five counties through the end of the month.

The final event will be the Silver Arts and Awards Ceremony on May 15 in Person County.

Contact the writer at dhairston@hendersondispatch.com.