Chesapeake Senior Games 2013

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Verna Owens, 100 years old-- the games oldest participant.

Verna Owens, 100 years old– the games oldest participant.

Chesapeake’s Senior Games
“Let The Games Begin!”

On Friday morning, April 26, 2013, several hundred Chesapeake senior citizens poured into the Indian River Community Center gymnasium, and they all had their games faces on!These determined senior athletes had come to attend the opening ceremonies of the city’s 34th annual Senior Games and compete in a number of athletic contests challenging their physical prowess, athletic ability, and determination to take home a gold medal.

The festivities were attended by a number of local dignitaries and elected officials. Chesapeake sheriff, Jim O’Sullivan, provided opening remarks after his agency’s honor guard presented our nation’s colors. An inspiring rendition of our national anthem was performed by Kathy Williams. Her considerable vocal talents were sincerely applauded by the appreciative crowd.  O’Sullivan’s cordial remarks assured the seniors present that his office considers them all as friends and stands ready always to assist whenever possible. Chesapeake’s hard working mayor, the Honorable Alan Krasnoff, also addressed the crowd with a number of personal and inspiring remarks. Parks and Recreation Programs Director Mike Barber was on hand to demonstrate the city’s commitment to senior programs.

A talented local magician, “Magic Dave” Rosado, lived up to his name and captivated the crowd with a number of magical feats including a bowling ball which seemed to appear from a drawing on a large sheet of paper. To emphasize that the ball was real, as it materialized, Magic Dave let it fall to the floor with a loud thud. In addition to being a talented prestidigitator, Rosado is also the Public Information Officer for the Sheriff’s Office.

Ladies proudly display their “tattoos.”

Ladies proudly display their “tattoos.”
L-R: Leslie Copeland, Sue Browning, Jean Moon, Irma Thompson, Vivian Hodges (kneeling) Karen Christy
Courtesy of Chesapeake Parks and Recreation

The highlight of the opening ceremonies was the appearance of Verna Owen who is the most senior of Chesapeake’s senior citizens.  Owen turned 100 years old earlier this year and may have the honor of being the nation’s oldest rap star. Her remarks to the crowd were more of an entertainer’s routine and she peppered them with several humorous jokes and anecdotes. The biggest surprise, however, came at the end of her speech when she tossed her cane aside, walked to the front of the podium, and began a family friendly “G” rated senior citizen rap. The crowd got in the spirit and clapped to the beat while Mrs. Owen swayed and rapped. She was rewarded with a standing ovation. Even when the opening ceremonies were over, Mrs. Owen wasn’t finished. The smartly dressed centenarian then participated in a number of events including shuffleboard and Frisbee bowling.

Before and during the competition, the seniors had the opportunity to visit a number of information booths manned by several local Chesapeake businesses including Humana Health Services, Planet Chiropractic, The Reserve at Greenbrier, Jencare, Aqua 900, and MediHome Hospice and Health Care.  They learned about affordable senior housing options, health care plans, and home medical services.

The dedicated staff of Senior Services for Chesapeake’s Parks and Recreation Department includes     Karen Christy, long time recreation coordinator of therapeutic and senior programs and Kela Cowan-Gant, a special projects coordinator who supervised the Senior Games. “This is our 34th year of hosting the Senior Games,” Karen remarked, “They keep getting bigger and better. We had a great turn-out this year and the seniors had a wonderful time. I am very grateful to the Parks and Recreation staff and all of our very generous sponsors.”

Seniors competing in Shuffleboard.

Seniors competing in Shuffleboard.

Competition during the week long event was divided into two categories: indoor events and outdoor events, and included Frisbee bowling, horseshoes, table tennis, shuffleboard, basketball free throws, pickelball, dominos, shot-put, discus, and standing log jump. Indoor events were staged at the Indian River Community Center and the outdoor competition was held at Oscar Smith High School’s athletic fields.

As the games ended at Indian River Community Center, a number of senior athletes proudly displayed their hard earned medals. Others just relished the good sportsmanship displayed during the competition. Yet they all shared a common bond consisting of camaraderie and good will. That’s what the Senior Games are all about.

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