Be a sport, get involved in Senior Games
By Dick and Sandy Michener
Are you a serious competitor or a weekend athlete? Are you an accomplished artist or a hobbyist? Regardless of your abilities and goals, you have a place in the 2007 Haywood County Senior Games (and the Senior Games in all the counties in Western North Carolina for that matter).
Did you know that the concept of athletic and artistic competitions, for adults 55 and better, originated in North Carolina? In fact, Haywood County was one of three pilot counties in 1983. The program began with athletics only. The Silver Arts category was added to provide outlets for artists and performers, and it remains a unique feature in North Carolina.
The Senior Games concept is defined as “a wellness and prevention program to keep the body, mind, and spirit fit while enjoying the company of friends, family, spectators, and volunteers.”
Some folks fear they may be too old or too inexperienced to participate as athletes or artists. However, during 2006 more than 60,000 North Carolinians entered 52 local Senior Games covering all 100 counties. Of those who qualified for the 2006 North Carolina Senior Games State Finals, 3,127 individuals between the ages of 55 and 96 chose to compete in Raleigh and several other locations.
The 2007 Haywood County Senior Games will be held at local venues between April 30 and May 24. There will be 44 events in a variety of sports ranging from leisurely to intense. There will be 4 Silver Arts categories, including visual arts, literary arts, performing arts, and heritage arts. Social events are scheduled.
Registration forms should be picked up and returned, from April 2-20, at Haywood County Recreation and Parks, located in Annex II at 1233 N. Main Street in Waynesville. For further information, you can phone their office at 828.452.6789. Laura Schmerker directs the Haywood County Senior Games and does a wonderful job at it, but anyone answering this phone can help you.
Dick is far from an accomplished athlete, but he enjoys sporting as well as writing competitions. Sandy is a good runner who is among a number of Haywood County athletes who qualified for the bi-annual “Summer National Senior Games — The Senior Olympics.” More than 12,000 American athletes between the ages of 55 and 104 will be congregating in Louisville, Kentucky from June 22-July 7.
If you are younger than 55, you can experience the Haywood County Senior Games as a volunteer, a spectator, or a sponsor. However you become involved, you will be inspired by a contagious celebration of the human spirit.