2012 Senior Games have begun
For 74-year-old Mary Evans, the secret to aging well is simple: stay active.
The Mint Hill resident is one of many local senior citizens taking part in the 2012 Charlotte-Mecklenburg branch of the North Carolina Senior Games. The games take place in all of North Carolina’s 100 counties, promoting healthy lifestyles among those ages 55 and older through “fun, fitness and fellowship.”
For 15 years, Evans has enjoyed participating in the Senior Games, sticking with her two favorite sports: basketball and softball. But the Senior Games offers a wide variety of activities, including track and field competitions, bocce ball, visual arts, performing arts, croquet, corn hole, golf and swimming. The Levine Senior Center in Matthews hosted the opening ceremonies and performing arts competition Thursday, May 3.
The events span four weeks, with activities being held on two or three weekdays and each Saturday. The majority of the events take place on Big Saturday and Little Saturday. Little Saturday, which was May 5, saw four events over the course of a few hours. Big Saturday, will be held May 12 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Alexander Graham Middle School track, 1800 Runnymede Lane in Charlotte and will feature 13 different events.
Winners of certain tournaments advance to compete at the state and national levels. Evans has been fortunate enough to play basketball in the national competition three times, most recently in Pittsburgh several years ago. “I like the camaraderie with the other women I play with, and I love the competition of it,” Evans said.
The 2012 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Senior Games has about 380 participants. Jean Grayson, head of the ambassadors for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Senior Games and a fellow Mint Hill resident, feels the 2012 Games has been a success. One of the areas in which she’s seen more participation this year is performing arts.
“We had a lot of groups and a lot of good talent and competition,” Grayson said. “We’ve worked a little harder this year to try to get more people in. A lot of people aren’t athletic, and we encourage them, if they’re not, to do the arts. If we get them into arts, we get them introduced to the athletic events that might work for them.”
Some of the challenges Grayson has seen this year are participants not showing up for their event and some former athletes not being able to take part in the Games. “We’re trying to build up our numbers, and we’re having a little difficulty doing that because some of our older ones have had to drop out due to health issues,” she said. “We’ve also had a lot of no-shows. We hope our participants show up and that they have a safe competition.”
Having experienced the empowerment – both physically and mentally – brought on by participating in the Senior Games, Evans is passionate about the Games and believes all senior citizens should, in some form or fashion, jump on board. “I think it’s great and that more (senior citizens) should get involved,” she said. “It’s a great way to stay active.”
Want to go?
Watch local seniors compete in the 2012 Senior Games during “Big Saturday,” featuring 13 events. The free competition, which is open to the public, will be held Saturday. May 12 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Alexander Graham Middle School track, 1800 Runnymede Lane in Charlotte.
For more information, visit www.cmseniorgames.org or call 704-322-4020.
Here’s a list of the events planned for May 12:
• 8:30 a.m. – Fun Walk
• 9 a.m. – Croquet
• 9 a.m. to noon – Football Throw
• 9 a.m. to noon – Spin Casting
• 9 a.m. to noon – Softball Throw
• 9 a.m. to noon – Field Events
• 9 a.m. – 1500M Run
• 9:30 a.m. – 1500M Race-Walk
• 10 a.m. – 400M Dash
• 10:30 a.m. – 5K Race-Walk