Introduction by Del Moon, NSGA Communications and Media Director:
The Theme for the 2023 National Senior Games presented by Humana was “Bridging Champions Through the Ages” to recognize the intergenerational impact of Senior Games. Our Games Daily online feature platform reflects that as we “turned over the keys” to some very talented young people to see The Games through their eyes and see how it impacted them.
Working with college interns is always a highlight of my Media Center work. For 2023, we recruited six film and broadcast media interns from the University of Pittsburgh to produce stories that give impressions of The Games and its special atmosphere. Despite having limited time to train and operating on a grueling daily deadline schedule, they did not disappoint us. We are grateful to Pitt’s Kevin Smith for his teaching skill and guidance, and for providing access to these talented young communicators.
We wanted them to tell their stories as they perceived them and in their style in order to showcase their creativity and talent. In turn, their experiences with Senior Athletes made a profound impression on them.
Read on to find out what they learned from their assignments and go back to read all of the archived Games Daily editions to enjoy their work.
I had never heard of the National Senior Games before or didn’t know what to expect in terms of the type of content I would be producing and what the creative process would look like.
This opportunity gave me lots of practice with video creation and putting together packages, and I enjoyed getting back into the world of sports media since I haven’t had the chance to work in that area in a year. My favorite part was speaking with the many inspiring athletes which simultaneously helped me work on my on the field reporting. I enjoyed the variety of work that the different sports provided that kept the assignments feeling fresh and interesting.
Working for over five years in a retirement home put a different perspective of aging in my head compared to seeing athletes in their 70s, 80s, and even 90s be able to move so quickly and precisely. They are living proof of the benefits of staying active and really showed me that aging doesn’t have to mean dreading a retirement home. It was touching to see how the sports brought together generations of families and people from all over the world.
When I first applied to be a media intern at the National Senior Games I looked at the opportunity as a way to develop my professional skills. As the internship progressed I realized there was much more to learn. Talking with the athletes changed my perspective on aging. They showed me that getting older doesn’t make you weaker, it just brings new challenges your way. Many of the athletes I spoke to had overcome these challenges, accomplishing remarkable athletic feats.
The Senior Games made me realize that life is a marathon, not a sprint, and that finding balance at my age is essential. I don’t want to dig myself into a hole or over-exert myself, because of the Senior Games reminder that life is long and doesn’t have to slow down.
I want to thank all of the athletes I had the privilege of talking to. I was inspired day in and day out, the opportunity to share their stories was one I will not forget. I hope that as I get older, I can remember their messages and follow in their footsteps.
Being a student athlete makes me look at this in a whole different perspective! When I first decided to participate in the National Senior Games, I had certain expectations in mind. I anticipated a highly competitive environment with seasoned athletes showcasing their skills and determination. I also expected to witness the power of aging individuals, defying stereotypes and proving that age is just a number.
However, what I discovered exceeded my initial expectations. The National Senior Games were not only about competition, but also about camaraderie, support, and celebration of life. I witnessed athletes from various backgrounds and walks of life coming together with a shared passion for sports and a desire to challenge themselves physically and mentally. The atmosphere was electric, filled with energy and excitement, as participants cheered each other on, regardless of their individual performance.
The athletes I encountered were not only fit and determined but also incredibly inspiring. They demonstrated resilience, discipline, and a relentless pursuit of personal excellence. Each participant had a unique story, and I was humbled by their dedication and the obstacles they had overcome.
My experience at the National Senior Games profoundly affected my view on aging. Witnessing these athletes in action made me realize that age should never be a barrier to pursuing one’s passions and dreams. It taught me that staying active and engaged, both physically and mentally, can lead to a fulfilling and vibrant life, regardless of the number of candles on the birthday cake.
It shattered stereotypes, redefined the concept of aging, and inspired me to approach life’s challenges with a newfound perspective. It’s a lesson I will carry with me, cherishing the moments and opportunities life presents, regardless of the number of years I’ve lived.
This experience at the National Senior Games was a rite of passage into expanding my skills in media. I entered the position with this trade off in mind: I provide social media content (something I’m confident in) all while shadowing videographers and editors (a rather unfamiliar world for me). The first story assignment quickly popped that bubble.
My mind raced with intimidated what-if’s of having to memorize camera settings or being unprepared. Geared with my phone and a lapel microphone, that worry faded away. This experience was purely about showcasing incredible people, people that resisted the limitations of age. Each report was unexpectedly exciting and I took away such special bites of wisdom from it all. My afternoons were then spent discovering editing shortcuts and testing my creativity. With each story, I felt myself becoming more confident in these skills. Some highlights include hearing a Malaysian couple that gushed over each other and conversing with archers that relayed their sport philosophies to life.
Aging has always been something that I’ve looked at warily. It is something that, if looked at with a pessimistic lens, can seem depressing. But observing the magnitude of the athleticism of these people has given me hope for the future. It won’t be a cake walk, obviously, but with the correct regimen I can still be energetic and limber when I’m 90. I’ve gotten to speak to some extraordinary people, and I can say that I will cherish those conversations and experiences for the rest of my life.
When I started this internship, I had only experienced working on projects that I had more than one day to complete. I expected to be challenged by the workload. It was difficult but ultimately very rewarding working this way, though I could only do it temporarily and probably no longer than the two weeks of this internship.
I learned very quickly that the work that needed to be done would have to be imperfect in order to make sure the stories got done in a timely manner. The delineation of tasks between me and my partner was very satisfying. Without hesitation, we agreed how to split the workload effectively after the first day. In doing this, we achieved great success in our projects. The time it took to drive to the location, film, and interview was done as one unit, then we would gather the footage and decide which one of us would complete the editing. We were satisfied with this system and it produced projects quickly.
Growing up watching the Penn Relays, I didn’t anticipate the National Senior Games to be much different than tough competition.
To my surprise, I found out that it was more than that. In my life, never had I seen a group so dedicated to doing something, just to do it, and feel accomplishment from feeling what they did. Each and every one of these athletes competed to the fullest whether it was about winning the competition or not. Most were just grateful to be there.
I will never forget a lesson that this experience taught me, which is to always be grateful for where you are, accept any challenge that comes your way, and to live life to the fullest and stay healthy all throughout your life.