Birds of a Feather

Senior Olympics! August 6, 2009

Filed under: The everyday — kcfeather @ 4:10 pm

I (K) have been working on finding things to do to fill my days that aren’t currently filled with work (other than the job-search, which doesn’t take up entire days). This past week (and next week), I’m volunteering at the 2009 National Senior Games, which are taking place at Stanford. For those of you unfamiliar with the Senior Games, like I was, they happen every two years, and athletes qualify for the National Senior Games at their State Senior Games. You only have to be 50+ but I have definitely seen some athletes in their 90s.

On Monday, I was a lap counter for the women’s 500 free (all 15 heats of it) at the swimming events. Their times ranged from over 19 minutes to 6:11. All of the swimmers were very enthusiastic and friendly, and many tried to recruit me to swim Masters.

There were a few great “senior” moments. On the 500, despite the lap counters, one (very slow) woman kept swimming after her 20th lap – she didn’t realize that she had finished!  Another woman, on 100 back (a much shorter race) also kept swimming after the end (and she only had 4 laps to count).  In both cases, they had to basically pull the women out of the water.  The best, however, was in the men’s 200 free, in a not-so-high age group, who stopped after 6 laps, thinking he had finished (and won!)  He was quite disappointed (and embarrassed) upon being told by the timer that he still had 2 laps, and didn’t even finish the race.

There were also some great “freestyle” strokes going on, everything from elementary backstroke to sidestroke to some combination of backstroke and butterfly. But, let’s just say: I hope I am still swimming at 90, regardless of the stroke!

Yesterday I helped at the archery events. The position description said, “help older athletes find their arrows.” That is basically what I did, although I particularly helped on woman, from CO, who had just blown out her knee and so couldn’t walk to find her arrows in the first place. Archers are a little less team-oriented than swimmers, and a number of them had somewhat bristly personalities, but overall I enjoyed getting to know more about the sport, and talking with the woman who I was helping out.

Next week, I’m lap-counting for race-walking, and also running results for shuffleboard!

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