Matt Schickling, the Wire
If you think you could beat an 84-year-old in table tennis, you probably never saw the Bucks County Senior Games.
Through six days last week, about 200 locals aged over 50 showcased their competitive spirit through 14 events hosted throughout the county.
“It’s a combination of health promotion and what people like,” Bill McTigue of the Bucks County Area Agency on Aging said. “But the primary purpose of the Senior Games is to get everyone together for camaraderie.”
The BCAAA partnered with the Bucks County Department of Recreation to host the Games in their 33rd year. This year’s athletic competitions included bowling, darts, billiards, bocce ball, table tennis, track and field and golf. Other events, like pinochle, trivia and bridge, also took place. For many, the competition never gets old.
Some come back year after year, like Ken and Peggy Hagy. The Yardley couple, both 84 years old, play table tennis twice a week at the Falls Township Senior Center, but made their way to the James E. Kinney Senior Center in Richboro to compete in the Games.
“I always liked it for the exercise and socialization,” Ken Hagy said. “We need that at our age.”
The Hagys represented the oldest table tennis players in both the male and female categories, but the brackets are divided into age categories by decade, so someone aged 80 doesn’t play someone 20 years younger. First, second and third finishers in each category, age group and gender are awarded medals following the competitions.
“Some of the younger seniors are more competitive,” Hagy added. “The most exercise for me is picking up the balls.”
McTigue said that the most popular event is golf, which took place at the Fairways Golf Club in Warrington. The track and field events held last Saturday at Tohickon Middle School in Doylestown were where they show the most athletic ability. They competed in events including the mile run, mile walk, 100-meter dash, 400-meter dash, discus, shot put and long jump.
“People who participate in track take it pretty seriously,” McTigue said. “They train all throughout the year.”
Jeanne Barney, 69, now competes in several events in the Games including track and field, but she started out as a volunteer in the 1980s.
“I used be like, ‘Wow, look at what they can do,’ ” Barney said.
The Buckingham local highlighted how the games have changed since the early days, and advantages some people have, like home-court advantage in bocce ball.
“They know all the soft spots,” she joked.
McTigue said in coming years, they hope to bring back events that were popular in the past, like tennis, to bring the attendance to an even higher level. But, for now, the fun and friendly competition keep people like the Hagys and Barney coming back every year.
“I don’t feel like I’m 69,” Barney said. “You just have to keep moving, because 70 is the new 30, right?”
For more information on the Bucks County Senior Games, visit http://www.buckscounty.org/government/HumanServices/AAA/SeniorGames.