On February 25, seniors from the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and sister communities such as Gila River and Lehi gathered at the Community Building for the annual Senior Olympics, a series of fun and competitive activities designed to encourage physical activity and test strength, endurance and agility.
The all-day event began with registration and breakfast. It was a great time to catch up with old friends and remember playing together in sports years before.
The games included a variety of events in individual, team and adaptive competitions. Seniors did their best to come up with the fastest score on the obstacle course, where they had to run over aerobic steps, fill up a bucket with different-sized balls and run to the finish line.
Then there was the medicine ball throw, in which participants had to throw the 4-pound ball as far as they could to test their strength.
Outside was the chicken throw, a favorite game for the seniors every year, where participants grab the rubber chicken and throw it as far as possible. This game is usually good for a few laughs, because the chicken does not always go in a straight line. Sometimes it flies almost straight in the air, landing only a few feet away from the competitor!
Another outdoor event was archery, which tested sight, strength and the ability to hit the target. Everyone enjoyed taking part in this activity. Some were able to hit the target, and others missed and hit the wall behind it. Everyone was scored on their ability to hit the bull’s eye and how many times they did.
Then everyone came into the gym to watch as teams of four competed in the Oompa Loompa competition. In this game, two seniors carry an oversized, 15-pound beach ball across the court to their partners on the other side.
The Senior Olympics also included adaptive leisure games for the seniors with disabilities, such as the beanbag toss and other games requiring less movement.
For the last event of the day, the seniors crowded into the gym to watch a chair volleyball match. The players were so involved in the game that some almost fell out of their chairs or tried to stand up to hit the ball.
After the games concluded, it was time for lunch and an awards presentation, in which all the seniors were recognized and awarded for their participation in the games.