How Fit Are You? Senior Athletic Glory Could Be Yours.

As a teenager I long ago gave up all hopes of athletic fame. At best, in a few sports I qualified as average. But now I have glorious news for all seniors—men and women–with comparable modest skills but whose competitive juices remain at the ready for an unexpected opportunity of latter day athletic fulfillment.

I immediately present to you the occasion and my rationale for this somewhat over-the-top announcement. The National Senior Summer Games is coming to Minneapolis in 2015, the largest senior multi-games competition in the world. (It’s really a senior Olympics except they can’t use the word Olympics.) It takes place every other year, and in San Francisco in 2009 there were 10,296 men and women participating.

The range of ages spans over a half century with competition separated into five year segments: 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, and continuing up to 100-104. And there are many varied events from which to select. But why should a mediocre athlete as a youth take up this challenge as a senior and not be concerned about the potential stigma of dismal failure? The answer is easy and it’s all in the numbers of competitors.

Here is what I mean. When I first heard about the Games, I recklessly said to the wife, “I’m thinking of competing in the shot put.” “Are you mad?” she forcefully responded. “You’ve never tried to do the shot put in your life. You will ruin your shoulder forever. Forget it!” “But I have several years to train,” I protested. “I’ve looked at the ages of the competitors. The numbers are heavy through the early 60s, but after that it thins out. At my age how many men will be competing in the shot put? I have the potential to be a national champion!”

Anyway the wife was adamant. I decided she was right and it was a dumb idea. I doubt that I could lift the shot put let alone throw it. So, did I give up my dreams of athletic glory? Never! I had noted one sports category that is not too strenuous and where I actually was a teen age winner. Frankly until I went over all the categories I didn’t even realize it qualified as a sport.

So from now on every summer through 2015—and hopefully after –you will find me practicing at the Loring Park horseshoe pits in Minneapolis. That’s right—I’m staking my claim to athletic glory in the historic game of horseshoes. At summer camp I was a champion. (The secret is supple wrists.) Finally, I must mention that my endeavor is blest with a highly favorable omen: The summer camp was called Camp Horseshoe. Surely I am destined to win!

Horseshoe champ "wanna-be"

POSTSCRIPT: Should the above description of the National Senior Summer Games inspire potential involvement, the following information covers some key items.

• The Games will be taking place in Houston in 2011, and in Cleveland in 2013. The Minnesota Games will take place in Minneapolis in 2015, no specific month as yet set.
• Games are held only every other year.
• Competitors must first be winners at state-by-state tryouts held in the off-Games years. (In Minnesota the tryouts will be held in Mankato in 2012 and in Owatonna in 2014.)For further information in Minnesota, contact: www.MNSeniorGames.com, or 320-762-2868, attn: Fritz Bukowsky.
• It’s too late to try out for this year’s Games in Houston in June; but you can try out in 2012 for the 2013 Games in Cleveland.
• For information on the state tryouts and schedules for the national Senior Games, contact: www.nsga.com, or 225-766-6800.
• Finally, here are the Medal categories and there are many choices within each category: Archery; Badminton; Basketball; Bowling; Cycling; Road Races; Golf; Horseshoes; Race Walk; Racquetball; Shuffleboard; Softball; Swimming; Table Tennis; Tennis; Track and Field; Triathlon; Volleyball.

So now you have the info; go for it!

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