While most Canadians are still basking in the Olympic glory on T.V., B.C. seniors are getting set for a sports tournament all their own.
The B.C. Seniors Games is a great opportunity, says zone director Arnold Amonson.
“Getting to know the people is good, the competition is good and you see people from all over the province.”
Held in Burnaby from Aug. 21 to Aug. 25, this year’s event will host 3,685 people and marks the 25th anniversary of the Games, which are open to anyone 55 and older.
Houston is part of the Bulkley Valley-Lakes District zone, one of 12 separately organized provincial zones.
Just one Houston couple, Adrian and Jo Meeuwissen, will go to the games this year.
There have been more in the past, says Adrian, but due to health and age many can no longer participate.
More Houston people are always welcome, he added, especially aged 55 to 65.
The games include sports such as curling, bowling, bridge, golf, soccer, cribbage and track and field.
Some events like track and field, says Adrian, are also split into age groups, so different age ranges compete against others in their same range.
This year Adrian will compete in the 80+ group in 10 track and field events including 400 m, long jump, discus, javelin, hammer throw, and shot put.
And the competition is nothing to scoff at, he said.
“Oh yeah, we have competition,” he said. “Oh yeah, it’s fierce! We are the best of friends, have a lot of fun, but boy when that gun sounds there is nothing given.”
But there is also the 2,000 m walk for those with physical limitations and disabilities.
Jo Meeuwissen will compete in that event because can no longer do curling and carpet bowling, she said.
This way she can still join the games, which are about more than just the sports.
Everyone gets to know each other over the years of competition, says Adrian, and they build friendships.
There are social activities during the evenings, he said, such as music, dances, and a big banquet.
Adrian recalls one year when there was a band of “fantastic Elvis Presley imitators.”
They started to play on the track and “in no time flat there was five or sin hundred people dancing on the track.”
In order to be involved, said Adrian, people need the $15 membership.
To compete in the games costs another $50, which includes five events and the banquet.
Participants must cover their own travel costs, but zone grants often give financial help.
The goal of the games is for seniors to be involved in social, physical and mental activities so that they can stay active and be healthier in their older age, says Adrian.
“I have a lot of fun down there,” says Jo. “That’s why we go, for the fun and to meet the people.”