by Marilyn Snedden
A group of nine senior athletes along with Acting District Co-ordinator for North Lanark(District 7A), Marilyn Snedden, traveled to the Haliburton Highlands to compete in the 55+ Winter Games from February 18-19. The funds created from this month’s draw for a TV were used to give each participant a subsidy towards their transportation to Haliburton.
Ten different sports were offered at places separated by more than fifty miles-Minden,Haliburton ,Huntsville and Wilberforce, so athletes were billeted near their venue and sometimes only saw their friends at the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. Downhill & Cross Country Skiing, Curling, Badminton, Hockey, 10 Pin Bowling, Bridge ,Table Tennis , Volleyball and Prediction Skating were the sports with some divided into +65 and +75 categories as well.
Over 900 athletes and co-ordinators were housed in motels and B&B’s with shuttle buses and volunteer drivers available to move people around. It was a tremendous effort for hundreds of volunteers who were most accomodating. Kurt Browning was a surprise guest at the Opening Ceremonies as he has a cottage in the area. He did a demo of what he can do on roller blades and added a comedic touch to the show. Talented music groups from the area performed at the Closing Ceremonies.
Even though our numbers were small , the quality was high and the bowlers won gold , George Wilson won bronze in the skating and the curlers won a few games too. The bowling team consisted of Ken Brown, Guy Chaput,John Lapensee and Brian Truelove. The curlers from Huntley Curling Club were Robert & Bea O’Connell, Jackie Waters and Dwayne Lowe.Instead of medals ,a local glass blower created glass paperweights engraved with snowflakes as well as gold,silver or bronze.
Many people were renewing friendships from former years and looking forward to the next Summer Games which will be in the Midland,Penetanguishene area in August,2016. Summer and Winter Games are held in alternating years.
Sports Alliance Ontario,an arm of the Ontario Government , is the prime sponsor of the games but many local businesses and clubs chipped in to provide a wonderful experience which shows that seniors have still “got it”and exercise that’s fun too is vital to make life worthwhile.