2016 Annual Conference Increases Excitement for 2017 Games
More than 90 Coordinators and key organizers from NSGA's 51 Member Games gathered at the Sheraton-Birmingham Hotel last month for the 2016 Annual Conference and Board of Directors meetings. The schedule was packed with workshops, committee and regional meetings, special events, and a sneak peek at activities and venues for the 2017 National Senior Games presented by Humana coming to Birmingham. Here are some highlights:
New Showcase Video Debuts at Opening Reception
The opening social was held at Vulcan Park and Museum overlooking Birmingham. NSGA used the gathering as an opportunity to invite key stakeholders from the host city to learn more and to mix and mingle with our organizers over a barbecue dinner.
NSGA CEO Marc T. Riker introduced our new Showcase Video (link below) and gave a brief overview of The Games with an emphasis on the special significance that we will celebrate the 30th Anniversary of National Senior Games. Three athletes also shared their thoughts with the audience: NSGA Board member Jerry LeVasseur, California Senior Games' Barbara Gicquel, and George Freeman of Foley, Alabama. Freeman is one of an elite group of athletes who have been to all national games since 1987. The Alabama guests were suitably impressed with the presentation.
2017 Sport Venue Tour
Coordinators first visited the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex (BJCC), located across the street from the host hotel. BJCC will host the Village/Expo and four sports within its halls (Badminton, Pickleball, Horseshoes, Basketball). Attendees were then transported to key competition venues for the 2017 Games, including Samford University (Track and Field), Birmingham CrossPlex (Swimming and Volleyball), Pelham Racquet Club(Tennis), Oak Mountain State Park (Triathlon), and Liberty Park Sports Complex (Softball).
The group was impressed by the quality of the sport venues, as well as how close most of the venues are to the center of activity downtown. Watch for lots of details about all 2017 venues in coming months!
NSGA Media Awards
Members also voted on the best practices by fellow states in the annual NSGA Media Awards. The winning submissions were:
- Website- Nevada Senior Games
- T-Shirt- Idaho Senior Games
- Medals- Idaho Senior Games
- Sponsorship Package, Annual Budget $50,000 and over- Michigan Senior Olympics
- Sponsorship Package, Annual Budget $49,999 and under- Maine Senior Games
- Games Promotion Packet, Annual Budget $50,000 and over- Huntsman World Senior Games
- Games Promotion Packet, Annual Budget $49,999 and under- Alaska Senior Games
NSGA Annual Meeting and Board of Directors Election
A key function of the conference is the Annual Meeting, where information and reports are shared to the Membership and the slate of nominees for the NSGA Board of Directors is voted upon. Re-elected board member was DJ Mackovets (At Large-Georgia). First term slots were filled by Kyle Case (Coordinator - Utah), Cathy Pottorf (Coordinator - Texas), Mark Schmitz (At Large - Missouri), Christopher Shirring (Coordinator - Ohio), and Thomas Stillwell (At Large-Arizona).
We also recognized and expressed our deep gratitude to outgoing board members Ed Roberts (Texas), Becky Ridky (Michigan) and Joe Rossi (Ohio) for their steadfast service.
2017 Logo Features Birmingham Icon
The logo for the 2017 National Senior Games presented by Humana was revealed at our annual conference, and it introduces the symbol of the host city.
The figure in the logo is the Vulcan Statue, which stands on a hill overlooking Birmingham, Alabama. Created by famed sculpter Giuseppe Moretti in 1904, the 56-foot tall statue depicts the Roman god Vulcan, god of the fire and forge, thereby reflecting Birmingham's roots in the iron and steel industry. Visitors can ascend the statue and take in an interesting museum displaying Birmingham's history and culture at Vulcan Park. This is just one of many surprising discoveries athletes will find when they come to compete.
NSGA Sport Rule Book is Released
Our Competition Committee reviews and updates the NSGA Rule Book after each National Senior Games based on reports and suggestions from staff and at large. The 2016-17 Rule Book affecting qualifying and national competition rules can be found at NSGA.com at the link below. There is a convenient "Summary of significant changes/clarification" section at the beginning that reflects new and amended rules.
Upcoming Qualifying Games
April has games in Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, and our Canadian partner games in Quebec Province. Ten more states open games in May.
NSGA keeps the State Information page at NSGA.com up-to-date as we receive details from our Members. Follow the link below to find state games dates and contact information.
Share Your Memories and Health Secrets for the 30th Anniversary
NSGA wants all athletes to be involved in celebrating 30 years of National Senior Games. The first way is to qualify and come to Birmingham in 2017. But whether you attend or not, we have two great ways to participate this year in advance of the observance. Selected athlete memories will be shared on a 30th Anniversary web page and newsletter in 2017, plus in special displays and activities during The Games in Birmingham.
Follow the links to convenient online forms for these two promotions:
Memories of The Games
Our celebration cannot be complete without including special memories of the past three decades in stories and pictures from YOU, the athletes. The introduction on the online form gives many examples of the types of memories we would love to hear from you, from funny to inspirational. You can even attach a photo to go with your story.
30 Health and Fitness Secrets of Senior Athletes
NSGA is compiling "30 Health and Fitness Secrets of Senior Athletes" to share with news media and in our special communications in 2017. What's yours? It can be an inspiration, a favorite expression, or advice you have gathered from others. It may be your own original tip learned from experience. It can be about exercise, nutrition, keeping mentally active, how to become or stay motivated, or any other "secret" that has helped you. Let's hear it!
HUMANA Heroes: Athlete of the Month
"Gratitude is My Attitude"
Luise Easton, 77, was no stranger to the triathlon when she got the notion to give it another go in 2008. "I did them years ago, but then I had several foot surgeries. I didn't do another one for 20 years," the former high school physical education teacher recalls.
After overcoming medical hurdles, and an earlier battle to drop 100 pounds from her petite frame, Easton is proud to be fully active and athletic again. After completing a sprint triathlon, she sought more competitions and challenges, including finishing the 1.5 mile Alcatraz Sharkfest swim in San Francisco Bay for her 70th birthday. (She repeated the feat at 75 and plans to go again when she turns 80.)
"I've always been a swimmer, and did synchronized swimming as a teen. And I taught swimming for 25 years," Luise explains. She began jogging to lose weight after quitting smoking in 1983, and was intrigued with the challenge of adding biking and running to make up a triathlon.
Living in the Cleveland suburb of Olmsted Falls, Luise learned in 2012 that the National Senior Games would be held near her and decided to qualify in swimming and triathlon. At Nationals, she earned five medals in the pool, but finished dead last in the 2013 triathlon.
Undaunted, she set a goal for redemption at the 2015 National Senior Games presented by Humana. This past summer, she went to Minnesota and captured the gold medal against stiff competition in the women's triathlon 75-79 age group. Her combined time of 1:43:55 was the fourth best in the history of The Games.
"I was thrilled to win at the National Senior Games. Most of the time in my other races, there's nobody else in my age group. I win because I finish," she says. "But for this race there were five women in my group, so I actually beat other people. It was fun. I didn't care what happened the rest of the week-not that I didn't want to do good in swimming, but I was so thrilled to win that." (She did also pick up two silver and two bronze medals in swimming).
What changed in the two years between? "I got a coach and started strength training, bicycle training, swimming and running training. That was the difference."
While driven by a competitive nature, Luise looks beyond the finish line. "I do like to win. But my motto now is 'There's gratitude in my attitude' because at my age, to be able to do what I'm doing physically and financially, I have nothing but gratitude. Making friends through the games is another reason for doing it."
Luise is always encouraging others, and offers simple advice for those who want to get going at any age. "Show up and put one foot in front of the other. It is that easy," she tells people. "Anytime you get up and do something you're ahead of all the other people who don't even get out. It's never too late to start doing something."
We're always looking for great athlete stories. Submit yours or nominate a fellow athlete who inspires you at our Athlete of the Month page at NSGA.com!
Senior Health and Wellness
Personal Best Athlete Update: Karen Newman
Now that we have completed three years of Personal Best athlete profiles, we want to occasionally provide updates about what's going on with these great examples of healthy, active aging.
This month, we congratulate Karen Newman from our Class of 2014 (read profile here)
for having her book Just Three Words
published. The elite triathlete mentioned she had begun the project when our feature appeared, saying that she wanted to inspire and motivate others by her example in overcoming eating disorders as a youth and her more recent ordeal with misdiagnosed breast cancer. Her involvement with Senior Games is prominently mentioned in the book.
Karen reports that pre-sales were strong and she found standing room crowds at her book launches in Connecticut and Vermont. The positive reviews and endorsements are rolling in as well, such as this comment by Jim Bell, Executive Producer of NBC Olympics: "Karen Newman's journey is as inspiring and compelling as any Olympic athlete I've ever seen. She is grace and grit personified." You can learn more about Karen at her personal website
NSGA Online Merchandise Store
As you make plans to qualify for the 2017 Games, you also need to consider what to wear as you train and compete. You want people to know you are a senior athlete, and maybe you can get a little edge when your competition sees you in a shirt thatsays you compete in the National Senior Games.
Get ready to compete in style with wearables sporting the 2017 Games logo or an NSGA emblem. There are selections for all climates and many custom print options.