Silver sportsmanship

Sep 23, 2016

While standing on the bocce ball court, Barb Homler, 76, contemplated her next move.

“My strategy is to win,” said Homler, of Schaumburg, as she prepared for another round during the Silver Games at the Schaumburg Park District’s Community Recreation Center. “I used to play bocce ball with my grandsons.”

Homler was among more than 140 seniors who participated in the 9th annual Silver Games, which took place Sept. 12-16 at District locations and Friendship Village.

Allowing participants 62 and older the chance to delve into good-natured competition, events are offered for all ability levels.

The games feature a variety of activities, including a 1-mile fun walk, table tennis, swimming, poker, fishing derby, a free-throw contest, pickleball, Sudoku and jigsaw puzzles and seated floor hockey—a high-energy game in which teams sit across from each other and score goals in a makeshift rink.

 “Our Schaumburg seniors are very active,” said Lisa Perrone, senior supervisor for the District. “Seniors want to keep moving and maintain their independence. People are living longer and quality of life is so important.”

Scoring multiple goals during seated floor hockey at Friendship Village, Velma Robinson, 89, of Schaumburg, said she was having a ball.

“These games are great,” said Robinson, whose team won gold medals for floor hockey. “It’s just a fun way to get to know people.”

Proving athleticism exists at any age, Robinson also earned a silver medal in water volleyball and bronze in Pop-a-Shot electronic basketball.

For many local seniors, participating in events such as the Silver Games is an ideal way to stay mobile, make friends and try new things.

“This is the best,” Joe Infantino, 72, of Schaumburg said. “It really lifts the spirits.”

Mark Gamb, 76, of Schaumburg won a gold medal playing Pop-a-Shot, bronze in the obstacle course and silver in the bean bag tournament. He said he plays the Silver Games for “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.”

“I prefer the victory,” Gamb said with a grin after finishing a game of floor hockey. “It’s also enjoyable having friendly competition with other seniors.”

Open nearly 40 years, at the CRC, 505 N. Springinsguth Road, the district’s Senior Center provides daytrips, vacation opportunities and luncheons, along with a variety of games, including billiards, pinochle and bingo. The District also offers Rules of the  Road review courses, an AARP Smart Drivers class and Medicare presentations for seniors. Senior Center hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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