The Mid-Carolina Senior games opening ceremony took place at the Hercules Physical Fitness Center April 11. Over 60 participants from the ages of 50 and older played multiple games from the field to inside the gymnasium to compete for medal awards such as the bronze, silver and gold. The athletic games included softball throw, tennis, shot put, discus and many more activities. Seniors traveled from counties such as Cumberland, Harnett and Sampson to attend the competition.
One of the oldest senior players, Sadina Gamas, 91, from Sampson County has been participating in the event since 1996.
“I enjoyed today games. I liked it very much. I played in the discus, the softball throw, shot put and basketball shoot. Honestly, my favorite sport to play is the discus. I just like coming here each year to have fun, ” Gamas said.
The opening ceremony consisted of guest speakers, the parade of athletes, torchbearer and a Fun Walk.
J. J. Johnson, an 80-year-old Korea and Vietnam War veteran, did not let any obstacles hinder him from attending the event this year. He walked around the track for the Fun Walk with his cane and the biggest smile while greeting others walkers around the track.
“I was not able to come last year because I had a knee surgery, hip replacement and eye surgery. I always enjoy coming to these events. I get to meet new people and show off the little alethic skills I have left. I also want to show everyone that I am still good looking,” Johnson said.
At the end of the games, food and medals were handed out to the winners of each activity. The senior games have different opportunities for local, state and national advancement. The best qualifying players out of each level will get to advance to the next level ending at nationals.
The Mid-Carolina Senior Games, held annually in the spring, is part of a network of 53 local games that provide statewide health promotion and wellness programs for senior adults, age 55 and better. The senior games will take place all month in different locations in North Carolina.
In addition to games, participants could also highlight their talents in visual, literary and heritage arts. Arts were displayed in a section that consisted of poetry, drawing, paintings, pottery, etc.
“This is my third event. I have writings from poetry, short stories, essays, and writings. I have won all the medals for my work. God has given me this, and I have been blessed to do this. I usually like to gravitate to the mountains of North Carolina or Montana, this is where my stories come from — the experience,” said Gary Ellinger, an Army veteran.
For more information on Senior games and location visit www.facebook.com/Mid-Carolina-Senior-Games.