Let the games begin!
"What a nice day to have our opening ceremony — the rain has cleared, the sun is out and everything looks so green," Senior Games Coordinator Barbara Hill said, as she addressed the crowd of participants and volunteers at the Rutherford County Senior Center on Friday morning.
Over the next few weeks, seniors will participate in various sporting and art events. These include bowling, bocce, tennis, badminton, billiards, a football throw, horseshoes, croquet, shuffleboard and archery, among others. Art events are spread across four categories (heritage, literary, performing and visual) and feature board and card games such as Rummy-O, Skip-Bo and Bridge.
"This is my first senior games and I'm proud of each and every person who has signed up for our games this year," said Crystal Upton, assistant coordinator of the senior games.
This year's games have 91 participants in sporting events and 43 in art events, including 17 first-time participants.
Many of the seniors' favorite part of the games is having the opportunity to play and engage in activities.
"It is important that seniors stay active, whether that is through physical activity or working the mind," Upton said. "There's an old saying, 'Use it or lose it,' and every little bit of activity you can do each day can help your mind, soul and body."
Seniors also enjoy the friendly competition during the games.
"Sportsmanship is so important in these games. It doesn't matter if you get that blue ribbon or whether you win or lose," Upton said. "It's about encouraging one another and it's about how you play the game."
"Everybody wants and likes to win, but we are all winners during these games," Hill said.
The senior games are sponsored by numerous individuals and businesses who contribute donations and provide their facilities during the games.
"We like to have as many games as possible and this support is why we are able to continue these games each year, making them bigger and better each time."
The opening ceremony concluded and the senior games officially began with the lighting of the torch by Bob Reilly, a senior games participant.
Spectators are welcome at all events. Visit www.rutherfordcountync.gov/Departments/seniorcenter/newsletter and click on the April 2013 newsletter to view a complete schedule of the games.