Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Seniors flock to fun, action at Summer Games

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AT 76 years of age, Pat Roberts won't be participating in all the events she would like to at the Manitoba Society of Seniors Summer Games this year. But it's not because of her age.

"I'll play the nine-hole golf and I'll swim," says Roberts, who is returning to the provincial finals for the 10th time. "I would have liked to play the 18-hole as well, but it's on at the same time as the swimming."

The active East St. Paul senior regularly hits the links in summer and skis downhill in winter. She used to swim a lot more, but is out of practice. Still, like thousands of other seniors in the province, Roberts is looking forward to the challenge of participating in the 21st annual Manitoba senior summer games.

The MPI/MSOS 55 Plus Games are to be held in Arborg, MB., June 17 to 19.

"I'm a recreational swimmer," Roberts says, adding that she has signed up for the 50-metre and 100-metre freestyle events. "Just for kicks I entered the 400 as well."

Roberts just recently got back into the pool in anticipation of the Games.

"I've got two weeks to get in shape," she laughs. "I thought I'd better get my feet wet before June 17."

Art Angus, 77, and his wife Adeline, 75, are both entered in three competitions. The River Heights residents will compete as a team in five-pin bowling, cribbage and whist.

The 55 Plus Games are billed as being just for fun, and they are. But for some seniors, they're also competitive.

"I think everybody tries to win," says Angus, who has participated in the Games with his wife for the last 12 years. "Whether you do or you don't, it doesn't matter, but you should try. If we don't win, we're having a good time trying. I think a person should always do their best.

"We've won a gold medal in bowling in Dauphin, a silver medal in cribbage in Carman and a silver in cribbage in Selkirk. We've seen a lot of Manitoba."

"I'm very competitive to start with," admits Virginia Tate, a 10-year veteran of the MSOS Games. "Always have been. But it's fun to meet people that you seem to see every year.

"There's people that played in the regionals but didn't qualify, and they still come out to the provincials to see people."

Tate, 79, lives in St. James and swims in a masters swim club.

"I've got lots of gold medals because there aren't that many people my age who swim, but there's still enough to make it competitive," she says.

This year, Tate will compete in swimming, duplicate bridge, whist and cribbage. She is also a spare on a floor curling team and has done the three-kilometre walk in the past, but won't this year. "There's only so many things you can do," she says.

Roberts has won her share of medals in past years for horseshoes, track, swimming and golf, but says she is not as competitive about the Games as some people.

"There's always some that are very competitive, but with card games, how can you be competitive?" she says. "It's social, really. There's a banquet and a dance, and you get to meet people from all over the province. It will be a good time."

Because of the popularity of the Games and the limited facilities in some host communities, the MSOS holds regional qualifying events for the Games. The regional playoffs were held in April and May.

"It's because of the numbers of participants," says Games co-ordinator Lois Dudgeon. "A community like Arborg couldn't handle 3,000 seniors converging on their facilities. We averaged 1,425 participants at these Games over the last 10 years."

Slo-pitch draws the largest number of seniors, thanks to a local league that promotes the sport throughout the province, says Dudgeon. But the fastest-growing sport is floor curling, which is similar to ice curling except participants use wooden rocks and do without brooms.

Open events this year include: the 3-K predicted walk, arts and crafts, carpet bowling, horseshoes, slo-pitch, women's snooker, swimming (being held in Poplarfield), table shuffleboard, and track. Playoff events include five-pin bowling (in Gimli), nine-hole golf (at Arnes), 18-hole golf (gross and net, also at Arnes), contract bridge, cribbage, floor curling, floor shuffleboard, men's snooker, and whist. Duplicate bridge and scrabble are listed as demonstration events at this year's Games.

* * *

The South Winnipeg Seniors Resource Council's annual general meeting will feature guest Marg Barbour speaking on the benefits of active living for seniors. The former city employee and recreation professional is a guardian with the Active Living Coalition for Older Adults (ALCOA).

The council's AGM will be held June 18 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Reh-fit Centre, 1390 Taylor Ave., and is open to the public. Refreshments and tours of the centre will be available following the meeting.

Resource co-ordinator Kathy Taylor-Hallick says the event will be useful especially for seniors and health-care and home-care professionals who deal with older people.

The council runs a congregate meal program out of the Adamar Apartments and Delta Manor, and a small volunteer transportation service for seniors needing a ride to the doctor's office, but its main emphasis is on directing seniors and professionals to services such as those offered by ALCOA and other agencies.

"We like to give them resources that will help keep them safe and comfortable in their own homes," says Taylor-Hallick. "We're there for the community at large."

The South Winnipeg council is available for seniors in Riverview, Fort Rouge, Crescentwood, River Heights, Tuxedo and Charleswood. It also covers Fort Garry in the absence of a co-ordinator there. The rest of the city and province have their own resource councils.

For more information, call Taylor-Hallick at 478-6169 or e-mail swsrc@mts.net.

PHOTO MIKE DEAL/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 11, 2003 $sourceSection$sourcePage

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