RICHLAND COUNTY, SC — Midlands area seniors many sporting Senior Power, buttons have taken to area bowling alleys, swimming pools, track fields, golf courses and other sites for the 26th annual Midlands Senior Games this week.
And, why not? Word on the street, after all, is that seniors who stay active and socially connected enjoy healthier lives.
Some even throw a pretty mean strike.
Its not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game, said 89-year-old Edward Taylor as he wrapped up the last of three games of bowling Wednesday at Royal Z lanes in Northeast Richland as part of this years games. The annual event offers a range of athletic and non-athletic events for people 50 and older.
More than 150 seniors are taking part in the games staged by the City of Columbia Parks and Recreation Department and the Richland County Recreation Commission. The weeks activities kicked off Monday with a parade and opening ceremonies at the Adult Activity Center on Parklane Road, followed by some peaceful rounds of bingo. But that was a slow as things got, as competitors have taken their places in the various arenas of competition.
Taylor has competed for 24 years, but Wednesday his bowling game showed more signs of experience than wear, as he scored 141 in his first game. As to the keys to his athletic longevity, he simply pointed heavenward.
He gives me the strength. I have to do my part, said the veteran game participant, who has won numerous gold medals in various events through the years.
Other seniors have been doing their parts too in other events like volleyball, Frisbee golf and three-on-three basketball.
At Trenholm Park, Bobby Baker, Ernest Monts, John Mower and Dan Sherer engaged in a spirited game of doubles badminton Wednesday afternoon.
Alright, you ready? Baker asked before tossing up a serve.
Ive been ready, Monts responded from across the net.
And after Monts claimed the point for his team with a well-placed volley, his partners words of approval were spiced with some verbal shots of their own.
Im not sure if thats what he meant (to do), but it worked, Mower said.
For Mower, the outing, and the week, provided a competitive outlet that he wishes was more regularly available.
Oh, thats a fun game, he said. But I dont ever have anyone in my age group. Im just a youngster at 71.
Zenethia Brown of the City of Columbia Parks and Recreation department said the popularity of the games can be traced to the known benefits of physical activity.
Its the opportunity to be active and an opportunity for them to display their activities, she said. This is what they look forward to.
Organizers of the annual games say another benefit is the exposure the games bring to city and county recreational facilities, while showing the public how accessible and affordable local parks can be.
The Midlands Senior Games conclude Friday with a noon award luncheon at Hyatt Park.