Monday, April 20, 2009

No...Shuffleboard pucks aren't suppose to go airborne

I'm putting in a preemptive strike and asking for your patience, sympathy and prayers. Short of that, while you're snickering, know that I am yet again putting my life on the line so others may have fun.

Wednesday is the start of Senior Fitness Games. It's what I call Olympics for senior citizens who aren't Olympic athletes. It's all about fun, fellowship and, let's face it, food. If you cook, they will come. It's a county wide event open to anyone over the age of 50 and people compete in 5 year age groupings against those of their own gender. For 3 days we run the gamut of semi-serious sports like golf, bowing and track to more lighthearted fare. Competitors can choose up to 5 events over the three days, from the simple checkers or card tournaments to stuff needing a little more muscle like Horseshoes and Track. Yes, track. No, they're not betting on the horses. Sure, most of our folks simply pick the mile or half mile walk but I have one senior who still runs. Three years ago he had open heart surgery to repair 3 blockages. Last year he ran the 100 yard dash in 9.8 seconds. Did I mention he's 70?

As the t-shirt says, "Old age ain't for sissies or wimps".

Our "in between participants", who want more of a workout than checkers and less than running, enjoy events like the Baseball throw. That one's especially fun when the target is a co-worker yelling, "Aw come on Sarah! You can throw farther than tha-...ouch!" as the ball impacts with the cheerleader's shin. I wonder if being last year's human target is the reason the new Asst. Athletic Director quit...sometime just after the games. There's Spin Casting, consisting of using a rod and reel with a weight which you toss into washtubs at varying distances. The Basketball Free Throw event comes with a woman who advises everyone her grandson has been out in the yard practicing hoops with her. She then screws up her face with determination and mutters, "Sorry kid, but I wanna be just like Mike!" She can't jump as high as Jordan, but she usually sinks a few shots.

Horseshoes and Shuffleboard are the two most popular games and the women outnumber the men in these events five to one. The one event I no longer venture near is Darts. My co-worker couldn't keep score and keep the group straight. I played scorekeeper. Everyone thought it was funny that my tall co-worker pulled darts out of the board while built low to the ground me snagged those on the floor. I usually had more to pick up. Never again will I speak to a senior unless I can look them in the eye while saying,"Okay, wait until all the darts are collected before you throw. All he heard was "Throw." Yes, he hit me. Fortunately it bounced off my back. We're not complete dummies. The darts are plastic tipped. Besides, the gentleman threw like a girl. Absolutely no power. :)

Every year the staff has a game they are in charge of and mine is Shuffleboard. Oh, not because I'm some kind of whiz at it. No, I'm the only one who has the patience. We play indoors, in a hallway used only for this game. There is no good place to stand, although the speed at which I can lift a foot to save an ankle has improved over the years. It was tough the time two contestants forgot and shot at the same time. I move quickly for someone with short legs.

The real problem concerning shuffleboard is my co-workers, who don't believe in having their groups practice prior to the games. Last year I got on my soapbox at a staff meeting and politely declared that I DID NOT have time to teach someone how to play Shuffleboard when there were 40 other people waiting for a turn. They smiled.

I've retired the soapbox. Does absolutely no good.

The problem is, it's hard to convince women old enough to be your grandmother that you actually know more about something than they do. Every year I start off with a cheerful,"Now just place the stick against the puck, step forward and push. Just like mopping your floor. Just push." I demonstrate. Every year they nod.

Then they pull the stick back as if it is part of a pinball machine and slam it into the puck.

Two things usually happen: all their momentum gets lost in slamming stick into puck, allowing it to sail all of 5 feet forward. And the head of the stick shatters. I was rather proud to have gotten through 20 of these demented dames before they killed the first stick. I can't wait to get to the age where, instead of being aghast that I've broken something which isn't mine, I giggle hysterically, turn around and yell at the next woman in line, "Martha, you've just got to try this!"

So if I don't blog for a few days, it's because I'm giving Shuffleboard lessons and running a stop watch at the track. I'll be thinking about you, all sitting at home...and laughing.

No, I can't picture Michael Phelps sitting down for a rousing game of Bingo before lunch but he'd probably get in a lot less trouble...and probably take home a nice tea towel to boot.


Susan said...

Oh GOD I cannot wait to get old. My husband's already practicing; he's got that only-hear-the-last-word skill down pat. If I send him to the supermarket for bread and milk and all the staples, I no longer say, "for Heaven's sake bring home something besides beer", because that's all he will hear.



Cook and they will come: a cosmic truth.

Good luck!

the broken down barman said...

i am alive and well and shall return, better than ever. not hard i hear you cry............

love all

hope said...

Okay Barman...just checking. :)