It’s that time of year—the Torrance County 50+ Games, a precursor to the state Senior Olympics in July—get underway March 4, with events continuing through early June.
Last year I was the youngest person in all events I entered, since a person has to be at least 50 to play. Events are divided by age category, and I’m in the 50-54 age group. Competitors in the Torrance County 50+ Games were mostly in their 70s and 80s, with some people in their 90s. I was passed on the track by a woman in her 90s last year, in fact.
The Games are very informal and fun. With either one person or very few in some age categories, for some events everybody plays together. For example, in basketball free throws and 3-point shots, all of the women went in turn, then all of the men. Scorekeepers kept track of how many shots we each got, and in which age group.
I’m hoping to tempt at least one woman my age in Torrance County into competing—who’s out there? What’s your sport? Let’s play!
Here’s the basic schedule, which can also be found on Facebook (@nmsotc):
March 4 is the kickoff event, and will feature basketball free throws and 3-point shots; soccer accuracy kicks; Frisbee accuracy throw (a fun thing where you throw the disc through a hoop, if you can); and a Huachas tournament. That’s a game where you throw giant washers into buckets sort of like horseshoes.
On March 11, an air gun competition will be held at Mags Indoor Shooting in Moriarty, with pistol benchrest, pistol standing, rifle benchrest and rifle standing contests. Firearms are provided.
On March 24-25 will be a shuffleboard tournament at Mountainair Elementary School’s gym. That will feature women’s singles and men’s singles and doubles.
No fooling—on April 1 will be a table tennis tournament, again at the Mountainair Elementary School gym. That will be for women’s singles, men’s singles, doubles and mixed doubles.
A pickleball competition will be held April 8 at the Mountainair Elementary School gym, again with women’s and men’s singles, doubles and mixed doubles. I confess I had to look up pickleball for this column. According to the interwebz, it’s a game that combines elements of tennis, ping pong and badminton, played with a ball full of holes. It sounds just weird enough to try.
April 22 will bring a pool tournament, held at the Mountainair Senior Center, and a badminton competition will be April 29 at Dr. Saul Community Center in Mountainair.
An archery competition will be held at Mags Indoor Shooting Range in Moriarty on May 6, with women’s and men’s events, and range distances of 40, 50 and 60 yards. Equipment may be rented at Mags.
Track and field events will be May 20, with various races, along with shot put, high jump, javelin, pole vault, running long jump, standing long jump and other events like distance throwing for softball and Frisbee.
A horseshoes tournament will be held at Moriarty City Park on June 3, with women’s and men’s singles.
Last year I took part in the basketball stuff at the beginning and the track and field stuff at the end. This year I think I’ll expand that a little bit. I’m thinking about trying the archery and table tennis events. Maybe pickleball. Maybe other stuff if somebody my age shows up to compete with.
A press release by the group starts with the words, “It’s fun!” and I’m here to vouch for that. Even without competition, I had a great time last year, and it’s one of the reasons I’m going back for more.
Those who place in their events are eligible for the state Senior Olympics in Roswell in July. I’m contemplating doing that as well, both for a chance to get out of town, and for the chance to hang around with a bunch of “old” people who have found ways to stay active, since that is also my goal.
If you’re thinking about participating, here’s my two cents. While they are sports events, don’t let that intimidate you. People at many age levels take part, but also at many fitness levels. That 90-something year old woman who passed me up on the track is a real runner.
Lastly, to enter one event costs five bucks. If you want to enter two or three sports, that will set you back a whopping eight bucks. Or pay $10 and enter as many events as you like.
The group provides water and snacks for participants, and every event that I took part in last year was really fun—except for the part where there was nobody else in my age group.
I’m calling you out, ladies! Are you age 50-54 as of Dec. 31, 2017? Come see if you can shoot more free throws than I can. I double dog dare ya!
If you want to sign up, contact organizer Jerry Melaragno at 505-847-0402 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leota started working for The Independent in 2006, working her way up through the ranks. An employee buyout in 2010 led to her ownership of the newspaper. Leota has served on the board of the N.M. Press Association, and is currently its First Vice President. She is passionate about health and wellness, especially mental health, and loves making art. She can be reached at email@example.com.