While you are either supporting or ignoring the seniors’ games this week, ponder their growth and what it may say about where we are, and should want to be, going: not just in sports but as a region.
There are more than three times as many competitors now than there were two decades ago and an equivalent multiplier for the number of events.
That’s because there are more people than ever each year who qualify to compete AND can make the time to do so if the games take place in summer and not September.
When it began, the concept was, sort of, to have a gathering, centred around sports and games, of people whose children were not an issue in the Fall.
The 55 birthdays qualification seemed appropriate then because previous generations had their families younger, meaning the start of school had little impact – no rousting kids to catch buses, no lunches to make, in most cases simply no children, their youngest in their 20s, in the home participants left to attend the games.
More recently parents in their mid to late 40s, even into their 50s, still have children in the K-12 system or at colleges in their neighbourhoods.
In either case, there are still children in the home who require parental assistance. Ergo, the game dates accommodate more, “qualified,” competitors if the event takes place while school is out.
The older parenting trend is certain to continue, so summertime games are likely the future.
Increasing numbers of middle-and-up-aged citizens are also likely to desire taking part. I don’t believe the current, “senior,” age group is fitter than previous generations – I would argue the opposite, in fact. The pre-WW2-generation members with whom I worked as a young adult were neither as fat nor as medically afflicted in their 50s as members of the average postwar generations are.
Although the social safety net and medicine industry have increased life spans, there is no visual evidence on Canadian streets that the majority of aging Canadians optimize their physical potential.
But the postwar generations have had access to a lot more adult play, enjoy that, want to keep enjoying it, and need the exercise previous generations used to get from the work they were required to do, both on and off the job.
So, the senior games will continue to grow and be a boon to places like this, for the foreseeable future.
It would be nice (lord willing and the creek don’t rise) if this area could be in the hosting circuit consistently for a long while.
We have the sports expertise, under-utilized facilities coming out of our ears and a committed volunteer base (so long as we don’t overburden it).
We also have the need and desire for the kind of incoming economic boost, most particularly in the Dog Days of summer, that this blooming sports segment can provide.
Time to start planning our application for another of these events in, say, 2015.