By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor
Region – This June, hundreds of athletes ages 40 and older will converge upon Springfield College to participate in the Massachusetts Senior Games (MASG). There, they will compete in sports such as track and field, swimming, basketball, tennis, racquetball, table tennis and volleyball. Some participants have been lifelong athletes while others may be taking up a sport after a hiatus. And still others may be trying an entirely new sport for the first time.
Other sporting events, including winter sports, are held throughout the state at different times of the year.
The reasons why each athlete competes are as different as the athletes themselves. Some are anxious to get fit and stay healthy. Others find that sport and competition have helped them overcome a serious illness or the loss of a loved one. Some may have been very athletic at a young age while others are just now finding out that they do have what it takes to succeed in track, tennis, swimming or another sport.
Athletes compete in five-year age groups based on their age on Dec. 31 of that year. The games are open to men and women of all skill levels; there are no pre-qualifications necessary. Those athletes who place and are 50 and older are eligible to compete in the National Games which are held every other year. The National Games are being held in Birmingham, Ala. June 2-15 this year.
During the winter months, athletes also compete in alpine skiing and ice hockey. In early June, archery, badminton and disc golf tournaments will be held. Indeed, there is really a sport for everyone.
Davis Cox is the MASG state ambassador. Several years ago he found himself overweight and battling an illness. Now, thanks to hard work and determination, he has medaled in the pentathlon, competing in long jump, javelin, discus, 100-meter sprint and shotput.
More importantly, he is living the games unofficial slogan – “Get fit, have fun and make friends!”
“It has really changed my life in so many ways,” he said. “I want as many others to feel as I do.”
Visit the MASG website, www.maseniorgames.org, for more information and details on how to register and become a sponsor.