Many Senior Athletes Prefer Building Character to Breaking Records

Senior Games

Concentration and the drive to succeed, clearly evident in the face of this shot put competitor, are typical of the expressions of hundreds of athletes who compete in the Washington State Senior Games.

Hitting age 50 is a rite of passage for just about everyone in America, but it's especially significant for age 50+ athletes who once savored the excitement and rewards of competition in their high school, college or young adult years.

At 50, you get to do it all over again, thanks to the Washington State Senior Games.

Scorekeepers are serious about the work they do at the Senior Games, and with near up-to-the-minute calculations at even the biggest events, athletes can see how they stack up against everyone else—not only in their particular sport or heat, but how they measure against everyone else their age in Washington state.

By going online to the National Senior Games Association website, you can also find out how your results compare to records at the national level.

But setting and breaking records are only part of the story. Talk to any of the 1,800 or more athletes expecting to compete, play and, in some cases, stay, in the Olympia area over the next two months, and you'll hear of another key reason athletes enjoy the Games so much: the fellowship, the friendship, the camaraderie.

Senior Games

Senior Games track and field sports official Dick Unrue has provided an iconic presence for many years with his starter pistol and cries of "Ready, Set" just before he fires.

Making friends—even with those you compete against—has always been a major factor bringing athletes back to the Games year after year. Lifelong friendships are forged on the track field, the soccer field, on both sides of the volleyball and pickleball nets.

Many of those who compete together also eat together at the annual Athletes Dinner & Awards Event.

Many other athletes, especially those in team sports like softball, soccer, and basketball, report that building positive character traits is equally important to building friendships and earning medals.

"Compete against yourself, and always strive to win. Be a better person and make that your life's goal," says Tom, a 72-year-old softball player from Seattle.

No matter the reasons for coming, soon athletes will gather in the greater capital area, traveling from as far away as Canada, Alaska, Oregon, and Idaho to participate in the Washington State Senior Games.

In venues stretching from Lakewood to Tenino to Shelton and throughout Thurston County, the fittest and fastest and most skilled in more than two dozen sports will compete to be crowned as the best in the state. Spanning an age range of 50 to 90-plus, senior athletes are known to give it their all.


Contributor Mark Woytowich adds that to learn more about the Games, including volunteer opportunities, you can visit WashingtonStateSeniorGames.com. The 2015 Washington State Senior Games take place July 23–26, 2015 at various sites throughout the south Puget Sound area. Almost 2,000 participants will take part in archery, basketball, badminton, bowling, cowboy action shooting, cycling, dance, golf, pickleball, power walking, race walking, racquetball, 5K and 10K runs, rock climbing, rugby, shuffleboard, soccer, softball, swimming, table tennis, tennis, track & field, trap shooting, and volleyball.