- Written by Megan Joyce Megan Joyce
Although some sports require an outdoor setting — baseball, football — there are plenty that can be enjoyed indoors, away from the blistering sun of mid-July.
Such was the logic of the event planners for the 2018 Cumberland County Senior Games, which held more of its events in the temperature-controlled havens of Mechanicsburg High School and Mechanicsburg Place Senior Center than in years past.
The 2018 Cumberland County Senior Games, held July 19, were open to any Cumberland County resident or county senior center member over age 50.
“Every year gets better and better,” said Heather DeWire, of Cumberland County Aging & Community Services, which organizes the Senior Games. “This year, we moved more of our events indoors, and I believe that helped!”
Registration was up from 64 in 2017 to 71 this year. The roster included many new competitors, DeWire said, including their eldest participant, an 88-year-old female athlete.
In addition to Mechanicsburg’s high school and senior center, Mechanicsburg Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Park served as an event site.
Sponsored by Cumberland County Aging & Community Services, the Borough of Mechanicsburg, Messiah Lifeways, and Mechanicsburg Area Parks & Recreation, the Senior Games combine sport, recreation, friendly competition, and fellowship.
“I think it shows the community that older adults have the same desire to compete, and win, as everybody else,” DeWire said.
“It also shows that even as you get older, you can still have an active lifestyle, which may lead to some people looking at their grandparents in a different light.”
DeWire related the story of one gentleman whose family showed up en masse to support him, including children, grandchildren, and even a great-grandson.
“Some of them had driven two hours to be there to cheer Grandpa on,” DeWire said. “It was wonderful to see.”
As with last year, cornhole, Wii bowling, and shuffleboard proved the most popular event offerings. Other sports were bocce, ladderball, billiards, softball and football throws, basketball shoot, 25-meter freestyle swim, and 100-, 400-, and 1,600-meter runs.
“There were no new events this year, but there will be next year,” DeWire said. “We are looking to bring in a few new things to spice things up.”
Participants receive a survey asking for their feedback on the year’s Senior Games, which DeWire said strongly influences the planning and potential changes for next year’s events.
“[The survey] helps us to edit things, add things, change things around, etc. We love hearing from participants!” she said. “There were many positive comments again this year. They appreciated us moving more events indoors for sure!”
The one-day Senior Games require numerous days of planning on the parts of DeWire and Area Agency on Aging staff, but DeWire said their efforts are always amply rewarded.
“I love to see the new faces and really enjoy the repeat contestants year after year,” she said. “It’s great to see everyone getting along, making friends, and just really enjoying their day.”
For more information on the Cumberland County Senior Games, call Cumberland County Aging & Community Services at (717) 240-6110.
Photo credit: Cumberland County Communications Department