- Written by Megan Joyce Megan Joyce
With the exceedingly wet weather that’s had much of Central Pennsylvania collectively grousing throughout spring 2018, it was unlikely the Lebanon County Senior Games would get through its five-day run entirely unscathed.
From May 14-18, the 33rd annual Lebanon County Senior Games welcomed local athletes over age 50 at various county locations.
“The games went great again this year, minus some weather issues,” Brian Wolfe, director of operations at Lebanon Valley Family YMCA at the VA, said. “We had to reschedule a day due to rainy conditions.”
The affected events — mini golf, horseshoes, and the closing picnic — were rescheduled for a day the following week.
The Senior Games’ competitive events for 2018 included: table tennis, billiards, bocce ball, pickleball, basketball foul shooting, horseshoes, softball throw, disc and miniature golf, shuffleboard, 100-meter swim, and mile and half-mile walks.
It takes months of organizational effort to pull off the annual games, which are sponsored by 50plus LIFE, Aetna, Community Health Council 50+ Festival, Coventry Health Care, Lebanon County Area Agency on Aging, and Lebanon Valley Family YMCA.
“I start the planning process of the games in January. It is a lot of preparation before and during the games,” Wolfe said. “What I find most rewarding it seeing how much fun everyone has, and that in itself makes it worth all the effort.”
AES Ironwood Park, Lebanon Valley Family YMCA, Maple Street Senior Community Center, Myerstown Fairlane Park, and Yogey’s Miniature Golf Course hosted the varied sporting events.
Disc golf was new to the lineup this year, Wolfe said, as was intermediate female pickleball doubles. Miniature golf and mixed pickleball doubles proved the most popular draws.
Pickleball’s particular popularity extended beyond the interest of the players, Wolfe said, to include spectators as well.
“We had a nice turnout of fans watching all pickleball events,” he said. “At one event, we had that many people watching that they were able to do the wave.”
Pickleball was the main reason Bob Arnold, of Lebanon, joined the games this year. Both Arnold and his wife, Susan, embarked on their first year as Senior Games athletes after some fellow pickleball players at the Lebanon YMCA encouraged them to sign up.
“We enjoyed it very much,” Arnold said. “It was very well laid out.”
The Arnolds branched out from pickleball and tried several different sports, and even as first-timers, they didn’t come home empty-handed. Bob Arnold picked up medals for shuffleboard and bocce ball, and Susan Arnold earned medals in pickleball and bocce ball.
“The games are a fun, friendly, competitive atmosphere that gets seniors active. It enables them to meet new people and form additional social rings,” Wolfe said. “The games provide a positive example of how active our community is and will hopefully inspire other seniors to get active.”
But will the Arnolds be back for a second year?
“Absolutely. We really enjoyed it and thought it was a lot of fun,” Bob Arnold said. “I don’t know why we didn’t do it other years. You meet some nice people; we had a good time.”
To request more information on the Lebanon County Senior Games or to learn about opportunities and activities the Lebanon YMCA offers, call (717) 273-2691 or visit www.lebanonymca.org.
Photo credit: Brian Wolfe