Monday, October 22, 2018

The Huntsman Senior Games

This year I turned 50 and decided to celebrate by participating in the Huntsman World Senior Games. I had heard about this event for some time but I didn't realize how big of an event it is until witnessing it first hand. The games takes place every October in St. George, Utah. They offer over 30 different sporting events to participate in. It is the largest over age 50, mulit-sport event in the world. There are over 11,000 athletes who come from all over the world to participate over a two week period. That's as many athletes as participated in the Rio Olympics.

I signed up for table tennis, the 5K race, 3 on 3 basketball, and a basketball hot shot competition. My first event was table tennis. I'm pretty good at ping pong but I quickly learned this was not ping pong. Table tennis athletes have different rules and are very serious and skilled about their sport. I find myself getting beat up on in a hurry. The next day when we played against players with similar ratings, I was still getting smoked by grandmas. I was in awe of the skill level and look forward to improving my skills over the next year which shouldn't be hard since I only played about 15 minutes last year.

The next day I ran the 5K race. All the runners started together but you only compete with people in your similar age bracket. Since I just turned 50 I was pretty much the baby of the group. I saw some athletes in their 90's. I ran pretty fast but was still surprised by how many people who were older than me ran faster than I did. Even the slower athletes who struggled were inspirational to watch.

My third event was a basketball hot shot competition. It's a timed shooting challenge similar to around the world. Points are assigned according to the distance from the basket and you only have one minute to earn as many points as possible. There were some great shooters there and I was fortunate to be making most of my shots for that event.

My final event was 3 on 3 basketball. I made arrangements to play with 3 guys from California who were short a player. I had never met them before but things worked out for the best. We played well together and our different strengths complimented each other. We ended up doing great after a slow start.

At the end of the week I had won two gold medals, a bronze medal, and a 4th place ribbon from the events I participated in. I was impressed with the scope of the games and how well they were organized and managed with so many volunteers. The athletes really impressed me. They showed great sportsmanship, determination, and camaraderie. It was inspirational to see so many people who do not let age slow them down. Some were just enjoying participating in the sport they love and others were definitely competing at a high level and kicking but. I will definitely be going back next year.

I had such a good time and was so impressed that I signed up as an ambassador to the games. If you are over age 50 then I highly recommend you look into the Huntsman Senior Games.

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