Every now and then, I get a little pinch from the "Reality Fairy" to remind me what life is all about. Yesterday, I was reminded of what sport, games, races, training was all about. It's not just about competing, beating, out-running, biking, swimming, scoring. It's about bonding, supporting, encouraging, sportsmanship, health, enjoyment, and adrenaline rushes. And, I needed an 89 year old to remind me of that.
Yesterday I attended the Sprint Triathlon Senior Games 2009 to watch my friend Laura swim, bike, run in Redwood City, CA. Many of you may not have even heard of the Senior Games, but they occur every 2 years in various US cities. Here's some facts about the games:
* The largest multi-sport event in the world for men and women athletes 50 and older.
* 12,750 athletes and an additional 25,000 family and friends are projected.
* More than 800 events contested over 16 days.
* Medal sports: Archery, Badminton, Basketball, Bowling, Cycling, Golf, Horseshoes, Race Walk, Racquetball, Road Race, Shuffleboard, Softball, Swimming, Table Tennis, Tennis, Track & Field, Triathlon and Volleyball.
* Demonstration sports for 2009: Equestrian, Fencing, Lawn Bowling, Rowing,
Sailing, Soccer and Water Polo.
Watching these amazing men and women from 50-89 years old compete, some of them very competitively, made me think that it's not too late for my parents (in their early 60s) to train for an athletic event. Some athletes pickup a sport after 50 years of age to manage cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. Some pick up a sport for social reasons. And for some athletes, they are just trying to find another sport they haven't tried. Believe it or not, I was envious of these "seniors". They are participating for the spirit of the games, not to win, not to PR. But to finish with a smile and take pictures at the finish line with the others in their age group.
We saw signs, "My Gramzi can beat your Grandma", "Go Mom!" and "My Grandma Tris". My friend Laura was passing an 89 year old male triathlete on the run portion of the race and said to him, "You're looking good!" He replied, "You're good lookin'!"