Setting the Stage for a Special Commemoration
The 2017 National Senior Games presented by Humana will be held on the 30th Anniversary of The Games, and planning is well underway to celebrate this landmark.
Starting in December of this year, we will begin distribution of a separate 30th Anniversary monthly e-newsletter devoted entirely to information and features about our history and the contributions of the Senior Games Movement to bring seniors quality of life through sports. The drum beat will build with introduction of a dedicated web page, and then culminate with several exhibits and activities at The Games in June. This will include special recognitions and video presentations at our Flame Arrival Ceremony and Celebration of Athletes.
NSGA will also provide athletes with an opportunity during this qualifying year to share their thoughts and memories of their past participation in National Senior Games. Watch for announcements soon about how to get involved and contribute to the fun and pageantry!
Dates Announced for 2017 National Games
We can now reveal the official dates for the 2017 National Senior Games presented by Humana. The largest championship multi-sports event in the world for seniors will take place from June 2-15, 2017 in Birmingham, Alabama.
The initial Competition Schedule is being finalized and will be posted online and announced in the February edition of this newsletter. Stay tuned.
Qualifying Year Begins!
As you know, qualifying for 2017 takes place in 2016. It’s time to make your plans to punch your ticket at one of our 51 Member Games. Many athletes compete in more than one to hone their skills and enjoy the fun, fitness and fellowship that characterize the Senior Games Movement.
Leading the way on the calendar is the Arizona Senior Olympics, with events spread from February 13 – March 13 in the Phoenix area. Like most, these games are open to out-of-state athletes. Arizona is also celebrating its 35th year of games as one of the pioneers of the Senior Games Movement.
Coming up in April are 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 individual state games dates and contact information. Good luck!
HUMANA Heroes: Athlete of the Month
The most publicized event of the 2015 National Senior Games presented by Humana was the heated battle of javelins between centenarians John Zilverberg and Fred Winters, which was seen on The Today Show and on numerous media websites. While noteworthy, the cameras did not catch a younger athlete setting new records and building on his own legacy in the same sport.
The other “buzz” on the field was 68-year-old Buzz Gagne, who earned the gold medal with a javelin throw of 50.61 meters (166 feet), good enough to set the all-time National Senior Games record in the men’s 65-69 age division. He now holds the top two slots, including his also-impressive 2013 performance. He has garnered six gold and three silver medals since first attending The Games in 1999. Buzz is also in the top 10 world records for the javelin for the 60-64 and 65-69 age groups.
“I always seem to have my best throws at the biggest meets,” the Concord, New Hampshire athlete says. “I don’t know why that is. Maybe it’s the level of competition and the camaraderie there.”
One of those silver medals, earned in 2011, is arguably his most remarkable since Buzz was diagnosed with prostate cancer that year. “They had to remove my prostate, but I waited until after the season ended to do it.” Buzz recalls that following surgery, he had no core strength left.
“It took me over a year before I started to feel good again. I couldn’t put much into my throws, and had to do a lot of core conditioning to bring it back.” Asked if he contemplated hanging it up, Buzz quickly responds, “I love throwing. It’s the most fun that I’ve had with fitness, and I’m glad I’m still doing it.”
Buzz, who earned his nickname the day he was born when an uncle said his crying “sounded like a buzz bomb,” showed signs of athleticism as captain of his high school track team inGreenfield, Massachusetts. After three tours of duty in Vietnam, he returned to get his degree, but basketball and soccer were the only sports offered at his college. It was not until 1998 that he noticed an ad for a masters track meet and got back in the game. The self-taught thrower attended a USA Track and Field clinic where his technique was videotaped and critiqued. “They pointed out things that needed to be corrected,” he says. “One by one, I worked them out and I started throwing 25 to 30 feet farther with a lot fewer injury problems. It made all the difference in the world.”
Buzz now enjoys competing annually in several masters and state senior games in the Northeast, in addition to attending national and occasional international meets. Locally, he trains with the Twilight Throwers Club (“a fabulous group of guys”) in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, and has a passion for helping others to learn and train safely.
“I can’t help but coach people. I’ve volunteered to teach javelin with the Merrimack Valley High School team for 8 years. At senior meets, I find myself asking others if I can point out some things to help them. Most are receptive, and I’ve made a lot of friends that way.”
Buzz appreciates his accomplishments, but says he’s not in it for accolades. “Records are meant to be broken, so that’s not why I do it. I do it because it’s fun and for the camaraderie. I never feel like I’m competing against the other guys. I just try to do the best I can every time, and ask God to lift my javelin just a little farther.”
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
5 Steps for Sticking With Your New Year’s Resolution
Noted national nutrition and senior fitness expert Dr. Pam Peeke wrote an insightful blog at this time last year that still rings true. It began with the following preface:
“It’s the beginning of a new year, and you know the drill: Across the nation, so many of you have done the annual end-of-year ritual of critical self-examination followed by the careful crafting of lofty health goals you resolve to achieve in 2015. Fueled by dogged determination, “resoluters” flock to health clubs, hammer through 6 a.m. spin classes, spend thousands of dollars on home gym equipment, join an assortment of nutrition and healthy cooking websites, and download the latest lifestyle apps and trackers. With laser focus, you’re ready to change your life. And then, within four weeks, it all falls apart. Sound familiar?”
Peeke, a best-selling author and Trustee of the NSGA Foundation, offered a new way to approach our New Year’s commitments to better health and wellness. “Yes, you should be filled with positivity and determination as you create a plan for better mental, nutritional, and physical fitness-but with a twist,” she wrote. “This year, instead of just envisioning the rewards you’ll reap from your efforts, I want you to also include a list of the typical obstacles you know derail you. Then generate a host of options for managing each one.”
In the article, “5 Steps to Sticking With Your New Year’s Resolution,” Peeke makes a realistic assessment about how and why we make (and break) resolutions, and offers simple steps you can take to make a new game plan to achieve and maintain your healthier habits throughout the year. Check it out!
NSGA Online Merchandise Store
New Year – New Gear
Time to gear up for your qualifying effort for the 2017 Games. You want people to know you are a senior athlete and to give you encouragement to keep going to your goal.
Gear up with wearables from the NSGA Store that say you competed in the 2015 National Senior Games presented by Humana, or get something spiffy with an NSGA emblem. There are selections for all climates and many custom print options.
Visit The NSGA Store at www.NSGA.com to get yours!