Approximately 200 seniors from Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community and other Native Communities across Arizona gathered for the Salt River Senior Games on February 17 at the Salt River Community building. With adaptive games, individual games and team games the seniors all chatted loudly and were excited to get the games started.
Some of the seniors joked about coming just to get trophies and medals. But most said they came to enjoy the day and to have fun and meet up with old friends that they haven’t seen in a long time.
Games played were the slap shot, the chicken throw and the bean bag toss and individual games such as archery, an obstacle course, medicine ball throw and team games such as chair-volleyball, walking relay and umpa lumpa which consist of a huge inflated ball with two people holding it above their heads and relaying to one side of the court while holding the inflated ball.
Sadie Marks from Tohono O’odham community woke up at 4 a.m. to make it to the Community and laughed as she tried to shoot the target during her archery shot. She laughs and said, “ I think I am going to get a medal because my arrow landed in the hay.”
Ruben Washington from Salt River threw the medicine ball over 20 feet as some people threw it only 5 feet from them.
Not only were games played but the disease and prevention group were on hand to check sugars and Community Registered Nurse Bonnie Tucker gave out flu shots.
Salt River Community member Carol Pedro finds friends; Carmen Pablo from Gila River and Linda Preston from San Xavier, she has not seen since either of them since her days at Stewart Boarding School in 1969. They all laugh and say we just don’t look the same laughing enjoying reminiscing with each other.
Richard Nish from Peach Springs, Arizona jokes and says, “I’m going to go home only after I get all five of my medals.” Nish is the brother of Community member Garfield Nish.
Lunch entertainment included Tohono O’odham dancers, “Once upon a time,” and comedian Teresa Choyguha from the Tohono O’odham.
The rest of the games were after lunch and the medals and trophies were awarded as well.