October 4, 2022

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Sports Really Satisfies

Senior Games offer more than sports

Winning cheer squads from across the state will compete for their chance to make it to the Senior Games State Finals. (Photo: NC Senior Games)

What the Senior Games of North Carolina may lack in terms of the pomp and grandeur of the recent Olympic Games, they more than make up for with the character of the people of the Tarheel state. Sadly, Beijing saw no cheerleading contests between fierce rival squads of senior citizens, NBC has the ratings to prove it.

The Yadkin Senior Games and SilverArts 2022 will not have any intense curling battles, they will however take the fun of spirited athletic competition and add in contests in arts categories to engage in an olympiad of both the body and mind.

“You are never too old to play, and its never too late to create,” said Bradley Key, local coordinator of the games. In a typical year, he said the games may have 150 – 200 participants from across the region. The games are open to residents of other counties, only the pickleball tournament has a requirement one player live in Surry or Yadkin counties.

Feeding into the North Carolina Senior Games State Finals, The Yadkin Valley Senior Games and SilverArts have their registration open now through the end of March. Registration costs $10, will include a t-shirt, and can be found online at: torch.ncseniorgames.org.

Athletic events offered at the Yadkin Senior Games include bowling, cycling, 5k run, swimming, and also track and field events. Tournament style events for billiards, bocce, disc golf, croquet, shuffleboard, and cornhole will also be held. Multiple racket events are being held with tennis, table tennis, badminton, racquetball, and a new favorite across the nation: pickleball.

A skill game involving launching dill pickles into an oversized barrel, this is not. Pickleball is a social game for all ages that combines many elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong. Played on a smaller court with a paddle, Silver Sneakers Magazine said seniors enjoy the game because, “beginners are always welcome, the rules are easy to learn, and it’s designed to be carefree and fun.”

“Pickleball is a great sport for active living across the lifetime,” says Jonathan Casper, Ph.D., associate professor of sports management at North Carolina State University. “Because it’s similar to other racquet sports, you can learn the game pretty quickly, and you can play for as long as your body will let you.”

A sports fitness industry survey found a 21.3% increase in national participation since 2019, in part due to inclusion at retirement communities. However, the combination of a smaller court, a paddle, and serves not screaming by one’s head may hold appeal to players of all types.

Medical professionals have encouraged making regular time for physical activity as people age, making time for a brain workout may also reap benefits. Activities that engage both brain and motor skills at the same time can aid in both improving physical fitness while also putting one of the body’s most important organs to work.

To that end, the SilverArts are “a celebration of the creative expression of seniors in North Carolina” and are a major component of the traditional athletic competition of Senior Games that some may not have heard about.

Striving to keep seniors active and involved, the program unites athlete and artist to highlight the similarities found in both. Qualities of discipline, dedication, and pride in accomplishment can be found on display in a range of artistic mediums.

SilverArts categories include literary arts for entries in essay, short story, and poems. In visual arts submissions being sought include pastels, photography, sculpture, and watercolors.

For those who seek the spotlight performing arts will host vocal, comedy, and line dancing showcases. Cheerleading squads in groups small, medium, and large compete at the local level as well for their chance to make it to the state finals to achieve their bragging rights as best in the state.

Heritage arts category may be of special interest to craftspeople of the area. A display of skills among the best in local basket weaving, crocheting, knitting, needlework, quilting, stained glass, pottery, weaving, woodcarving, and woodworking will be sure to delight competitors and audiences alike.

“While many of our participants simply like to participate for fun locally, this is also an opportunity to qualify in an event and advance to compete at the North Carolina Senior Games State Finals,” Key said.

Submitted artwork will be on exhibit at Yadkin Cultural Arts Center from 12 – 5 p.m. on Thursday, June 2.

The Yadkin Valley Senior Games and SilverArts run May 3 – June 14. The North Carolina Senior Games state finals begin in September with archery and wrap up in November with a basketball tournament in Greenville.

With even more options than space to list here, those interested in participating locally should take a trip to: https://www.ncseniorgames.org/yadkin for a complete listing of all the offerings in the Senior Games and SilverArts.