Guest Opinions

Idaho Senior Games promote fitness and camaraderie

Mike Thornton
Mike Thornton

Congratulations to all of you for making the 2016 Idaho Senior Games a record year. Some 659 men and women competed in 18 different sports. Many of you continued your quest for an extended quality of life by pursuing an activity that you enjoy on a regular basis.

Are the Senior Games competitive? Yes they are, but most of our athletes are there for the camaraderie and fun that the games create.

Some of the 18 different events that make up the Senior Games are tennis, pickleball, softball, shuffleboard, bocce ball, track and field, 8-ball pool, cycling, swimming and walking.

We have a 5K/10K run-walk event. If you haven’t been active for a number of years, walking in your neighborhood might be a great place to start on your journey to health and happiness. In this author’s opinion and from my own personal experience, regular exercise can have a significant impact on our feeling of contentment and happiness. A feeling of well being can come over you when you are committed to a healthy lifestyle.

Many of you who finished in the top three or four in your event and in your age group will be notified by the National Senior Games Association that you have qualified for the NSGA event to be held in June 2017 in Birmingham, Ala.. Approximately 15,000 men and women older than 50 from all over these United States will compete in these games. Every other year is a qualifying year for the National Senior Games competition.

My challenge to many of you who might read this is that it’s never too late or too early to start the next phase of your life and just possibly the best phase of your life. Every year we have a large group of first-time participants in the 70 to 80 age group and also in the 50 to 60 age group. A commitment to regular exercise, whether it be walking or pickleball, might just start you on a path to health and happiness.

Many years ago, I pitched in an exhibition game against Satchel Paige, the great black pitcher who didn’t get to the Major Leagues until he was 43 years old because of the color barrier in Major League Baseball. Satchel was quite a character and I remember one of his favorite sayings went like this: How old would you be, if you didn’t know how old you were?”

Don’t let that number on your birth certificate prevent you from accomplishing some amazing things in your life, regardless of your age. We look forward to seeing many of you next year at the 2017 Idaho Senior Games.

Mike Thornton is the state coordinator for the Idaho Senior Games.