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The Long Run - May 2017

Game On!

Birmingham is abuzz with anticipation for the 2017 National Senior Games presented by Humana. Our official count is 10,517 registered athletes! As you prepare to travel, here's some important and helpful information and reminders:
 
Remember to Check In Before You Check It Out! 
All participants are REQUIRED to check-in and pick up their Athlete Credential at Athlete Check-In in the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex prior to competition (or practice, if you plan on practicing). Participants in all sports must check-in; no exceptions will be made, even if your event is not being held in the BJCC - Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex. Coaches, spouses, partners or friends may NOT check-in for another athlete.
 
The hours for Check In are 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. June 2-14. Check In will be extended until 9 p.m. on June 7 and 11.
 
Athletes will receive athlete credential, commemorative program and athlete welcome bag during Athlete Check-In. When you pick up your credential, you are officially checked-in and can continue with your quest to be named a 2017 National Senior Games Champion.
 
Special Events
2017 Flame Arrival Ceremony
Friday, June 2, Uptown District
Let's get the party started! The festivities begin at 6:30 p.m.just one block east of the BJCC adjacent to the Uptown District block of restaurants. Athletes and Birmingham locals will mingle and celebrate the opening of The Games with music from Jessie's Girlz, fun, "Passing The Torch" video, the torch arrival and fireworks.
 
Celebration of Athletes - 30th Anniversary Edition
Friday, June 9, Legacy Arena at BJCC
The Celebration of Athletes will be inside the spacious Legacy Arena at the BJCC and begins at 7 p.m. In addition to the stirring Parade of Athletes and other ceremonial traditions, there will be a 30th Anniversary celebration with special recognition and the showing of a new and inspirational "National Senior Games - 30 Years of Fitness, Fun and Fellowship" mini-documentary video, narrated by four-time Olympic Gold Medalist John Naber.
 
March in with your fellow athletes representing your State! Athletes will stage in the courtyard of the BJCC (volunteers will direct athletes to the correct staging location) starting at 6:15-6:30 p.m.
 
We are also pleased to announce that running icon Kathrine Switzer will be our special guest speaker! Switzer overcame barriers to become the first female to officially enter the Boston Marathon in 1967, and this year she returned at age 70 to run the marathon again 50 years later. A very special thanks to our Presenting Sponsor Humana for making Switzer's appearance possible.
 
Entertainment will be provided by international headliner Marc Rubben, who mixes great stand-up comedy with outstanding ventriloquism. The evening will culminate with energetic live music.
 
Make sure you join us for these fun and exciting Special Events!
 

The Village Health & Wellness Expo

The hub of activity is The Village Health & Wellness Expo located in the BJCC. Athletes come to The Village to check in and pick up their packet of information, shop for souvenir merchandise, find tourism information, check competition results, visit vendors and meet up with friends. The Village also features vendor booths, entertainment, speakers, and a variety of health and fitness activities such as tai chi demonstrations and health screenings. (See more details below in the Senior Health and Wellness section of this newsletter.)
 
Humana will have a large presence with interactive displays and engaging activities that are consistent athlete favorites. Finally, don't miss the special 30th Anniversary exhibit area commemorating three decades of National Senior Games!

Stay Connected During The Games

The Games Daily Online - NSGA.com/2017Daily
Every day beginning June 2, NSGA will produce features, news and information about The Games and the amazing athletes that make up our extended family. There will also be a 2017 Photo Gallery for your enjoyment. Our news operation will be powered by "Team Vulcan," a talented group of 10 communications interns recruited from five Alabama colleges.

Tell your friends and family to follow along at NSGA.com/2017Daily and enjoy impressions of what The Games are all about!

The Village Daily
What's going on in The Village and around The Games? The Village Daily flier will be available June 2-12 in The Village with a schedule of activities, plus features and highlights about what's going on in our center of action.

Social Media
Like and Follow us on Facebook (National Senior Games) and Twitter (@seniorgames1) for updates and media stories. We are also now on Instagram (@seniorgames1) where you can upload your photos and stories and enjoy what others share. When you post on social media, remember to use the hashtags #SeniorGames2017 and #StartWithHealthy.

Birmingham Info and Deals

Save $$ With the All-Access Pass Dining and Entertainment Discounts
Athletes, look in your goodie bag for the free All-Access Pass to some of Birmingham's best restaurants and entertainment! Local attractions featured include Birmingham Originals Restaurants, The Birmingham Barons, and rising stars of Birmingham's brewery scene. Athletes may use the card for discounts at any of the participating establishments during the duration of The Games, June 2-15. Additional cards for guests may be purchased at the Sports Information Desk in The Village Health & Wellness Expo for only $5.

Explore Birmingham With Phone App
Experience the Magic City like a local with the Birmingham IN Guide phone app! Browse extensive lists of top restaurants, shopping, attractions and events near you, then get there with in-app directions and reviews. The IN Guide app is available for download from the App Store and Google Play.

Also, watch for news about the return of the Humana National Senior Games free phone event app soon!

Senior Health and Wellness

Community and Village Activities Will Promote Fitness for All Ages
There are many fitness-themed events and activities planned during the 2017 National Senior Games presented by Humana. Here's what's going on:

Community Events
Mayor's Walk - Friday, June 2
On the first Friday of each month, Birmingham Mayor William A. Bell hosts a morning community walk to promote fitness. On Friday, June 2, the Mayor's Walk will take place at 5:30 p.m. in the BJCC. Walkers will take a guided tour through National Senior Games sport areas and The Village, with the exercise ending outside BJCC at the nearby Uptown District where the Flame Arrival Ceremony will be staged. Athletes are welcome to join in this free walk.

Olympic Day - Friday, June 9
Every June, the United States Olympic Committee encourages communities nationwide to host Olympic Day events to promote fitness and Olympic ideals. NSGA and the Birmingham area YMCA have teamed up to bring campers to the BJCC at 1 p.m. on Friday, June 9 to see National Senior Games action. Two Alabama Olympic Gold Medalists, track speedster Willie Smith and diver Jennifer Chandler, plus Paralympic Wheelchair Rugby Bronze medalist Bob Lujano, will host the youth visitors. Athletes and guests are welcome to observe the fun.

 


Action in The Village

SAFE Screenings and ACE Athlete Clinics
Since 2011, Dr. Becca Jordre and her team of physical therapists have come to National Senior Games from the University of South Dakota to offer free Senior Athlete Fitness Evaluations (SAFE). The activity is always a big hit with our athletes, who enjoy testing and receiving feedback on their balance, grip and gait.

This year, there's a new activity made possible by NSGA's partnership with the American Council on Exercise (ACE). When athletes complete their SAFE screening, they will be invited to attend scheduled clinics conducted by Dr. Becca Jordre on June 4 and by Jordre and ACE Master Trainer Sabrena Jo on June 10 in The Village demonstration area. The clinics will feature small group instruction in exercises that prevent injuries and enhance performance.

"Tai Chi for Health and Balance"
Complimentary tai chi lessons will be offered to senior athletes and visitors in The Village. Participants will learn a simplified Yang style sequence of standardized tai chi movements from NSGA Health and Wellness Manager Andrew Walker. Andrew is a long time Tai Chi Chun practitioner who integrates his background in education, medical rehabilitation and exercise science to create an effective learning experience. "These sessions will emphasize the benefits of tai chi to support sports performance and improve balance," he says.

There will be several tai chi sessions scheduled in The Village throughout The Games. Pick up a copy of The Village Daily to see when they will be held.

Sport Demo Area
Need to blow off some steam or pass the time with a fun activity? The Sport Demo area will have corn hole and pickleball setups for some recreational fun!


HUMANA Heroes: Athlete of the Month

Plus Factor
An exciting new development for the 2017 National Senior Games presented by Humana is the addition of the 85+ age division for men's basketball. This five-year shift upwards means that there will be now an 80-84 age group of teams under this new age threshold. One of the main forces helping to make this happen is 87-year-old hoopster Dick Lane of Livonia, Michigan.

The eight-time National Senior Games participant wrote to NSGA in the spring of 2016 to petition for the new division. In order to make it a reality, NSGA required that at least four teams had to register to create the higher division. Dick got to work, scouring the nation for players by word of mouth and communicating with state games organizers. "There were twelve 80+ men's teams in 2013 and 2015, and nobody was sure if we could get enough to come," Dick explains. "I made and received a lot of phone calls and emails to help pull it together."

His efforts were met with success, and there will be six men's 85+ teams competing at The Games in Birmingham. With a background of Air Force service, obtaining a masters degree from the University of Michigan, and a successful career in hospital administration that included three CEO assignments, Dick proved to be the right guy for the mission. "During my occupational career, I would acquire a gym and bring together doctors and employees in the hospital who played basketball and have some fun," he recalls. "My passion is that an exercise lifestyle is one of the greatest things to keep you going. If you can find an exercise that you enjoy, that is just pure dynamite."

As a youth, Dick did not have many opportunities to pursue sports. "I went to a small high school with no sports teams. I was also shoveling manure on our 160-acre farm, so I didn't have time to go down to the gym to play ball." He did play intramural sports in college, and says he's always walked or jogged to keep his body in tune.

Twenty years ago, Dick bumped into the Michigan Senior Olympics, and a new career as a senior athlete began. He has played with teams from Ann Arbor and Detroit through the years, and he hopes to repeat the 2015 silver medal performance in the new age group with his Oldies But Goodies team. "I'm having the time of my life. I'll admit I like to have fun, and the exercise is also good for my heart, legs and lungs."

Dick has no doubt that 85+ is here to stay. "Some of the guys I spoke to were 84. They are now looking forward to being in that age group the next time around. I feel certain it will continue to fly."

"I'm glad I did it," he continues. "Many might not have heard about this, and the guys are all excited about this. I am just tickled to death to see it happen."

We're always looking for great athlete stories! Submit yours, or nominate a fellow athlete who inspires you. Click here for the submission form.

NSGA Online Merchandise Store

Get Your Gear AT The Games!
Yes, we have a year-round online NSGA Store at NSGA.com where you can order a wide array of wearables imprinted with the NSGA and National Senior Games logos and themes.

But at The Games you have an even better option with the NSGA Merchandise Store located in The Village. Some of our sport venues will also have satellite shops for your convenience. Enjoy your National Senior Games experience. Bring home a wearable memory that tells everyone else you are a proud senior athlete!
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