Saturday, July 9, 2016

The Senior Olympics visit Chimney Rock Villa

The value of an Olympic-style event is in the eye of the beholder. It may be the National Junior Olympics, the Summer or Winter Olympics, the Special Olympics, or Bayard’s own Senior Olympics at the Villa…

After a few days to digest the Fourth of July barbecue, consumed under the protective shade of the shelter outside the Villa, last Friday the residents were ripe and ready for the serious fun that is the Senior Olympics.

In designated areas, inside and outside the Villa, contestants found events that tested their athletic prowess.

Inside, like a bookend, on one end of the room contestants found a miniature bowling lane with an air-filled bowling ball and human pinsetters. On the other end, like another bookend, wickedly competitive contests of bean bag toss ensued. Haphazardly tossing a bean bag in any direction would not suffice. The destination for the bean bag was a mat on the floor with specific landing spots marked with points from one to four.

Who’d rack up the highest score?

Then, too, strategically placed in the middle of the outer wall of that room contestants were challenged with a Velcro dart-board, and a Velcro covered ball. Wherever the ball the contestant threw stuck on the dart-board, they scored points.  

Moreover, to not let contestants lose their verve, at all events well-trained overseers chased any errant throws and returned the ball to the participant for a ‘do over.’

When the waves of warmth beckoned participants outside the building, they followed their sense of sunlight where they found more modes of entertainment.

Under the aforementioned shelter they found a basketball hoop with a senior-sized basketball. 

Sometimes their shot would swish threw the net, at other times it banked off the backboard, and sometimes the ball would miss everything. When a contestant missed they’d grimace, but they walked away with a grin signaling they loved every minute of their Senior Olympic experience.

In front of the Villa plastic horseshoes spurred their patience as they cajoled ‘leaners’ to fall onto the stake. Nevertheless, when their dander’s reached the boiling point they were only a few feet from a good ol’ fashioned water gun fight, with real, wet, water. One distraction: Contestants soon realized the water guns were not above squirting anyone within a close proximity, including Villa employees.

Screams, pleadings, and guffaws rose above the objective of staying dry, but they treasured ever drop of water that fell from their nose, or chin. Childhood knows no age limits.

This Senior Olympics was a ‘come as you are’ event. Some showed up in a wheelchair, others with a walker, or cane. Likewise, some walked with their own ‘senior shuffle.’ No matter the mode of transportation it was not a hindrance to having fun. If a contestant had to sit, or hold on to their transportation with one hand while the other hand threw a ball or beanbag, the rules permitted it.

Also, the extravaganza included those sitting on the sidelines. With free admittance the stands were filled close to capacity. The fans weren’t raucous but joined in the fun. You see, not every child plays every game; sometimes they sit and absorb the freely flowing atmosphere in the vicinity. It may carry them to a time and place only they understand.

Thanks to Villa employees, and the volunteer help, that made this event possible. I hope you looked deep into the eyes of the residents, if you didn’t you missed the unearthing of decades old memories.    



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