People familiar with the National Senior Games understand the significance of qualifying years. The Olympic-styled competitive games for people fifty years and above are held during odd numbered years. To earn an invitation, athletes must qualify at participating state level games the prior year.
There is a positive buzz among athletes about Albuquerque, the host of the 2019 National Senior Games. “I’ve been to Phoenix and I hear Albuquerque is even better,” was one comment I heard during the Alabama Senior Games.
At a local triathlon held recently, my friend Dave said, “New Mexico is one state where I haven’t competed. I’m looking forward to going.”
State games are happening throughout the country with individual and team sports ranging from archery to volleyball and everything in between. Yes, there are the traditional senior events of shuffleboard and pickleball. But you’ll also find basketball and triathlon for participating seniors. And if you’re concerned about the level of competition, check out track and field or swimming where people of all abilities share the venue and their love of the sport.
My introduction to the National Senior Games came by way of a postcard in 2014 telling me I had qualified to participate in the triathlon at the 2015 games in Minneapolis. I had sought out local senior games as a way to participate in activities I enjoy with people of a similar age. At the time I was unaware of the progression to competitions at a national level.
Curious about the event and a bit flattered to be invited, I committed and participated. The games were well-organized and a lot of fun. In Minneapolis I discovered the 2017 national games were to be held in Birmingham, AL. Since Birmingham was much closer to my home, I decided to make qualifying for these games a priority.
I was able to add six events of swimming to the triathlon which provided me a broader experience in Birmingham. While my training was impacted by a cycling accident, I was pleased with my performance. I also enjoyed watching other events while at the games.
When Albuquerque was announced as the site of the 2019 games, I felt the distance would be more than I wanted to travel. However, I find myself planning and training for state events that will qualify me for the upcoming national games. The camaraderie among senior athletes is amazing. The positive energy is infectious. The joy of competing surpasses other emotions. Sharing the pool, the court or the track with similarly situated people builds bonds that are hard to match elsewhere.
If you are over 50 years of age and enjoy sports of any kind, I encourage you to seek out your state senior games and commit to participation. This community of active adults is one you should join. The National Senior Games website (nsga.com) is a great resource for finding information about state games throughout the country. Do it soon because 2018 is a qualifying year.
National Senior Games – June 14-25, 2019 in Albuquerque, NM