by Barbara Little
Two paddlers from the Revelstoke Dam Survivors dragonboat team, Ginger Shoji and Barb Little, were recruited by the Sicamous based women’s team, the Shuswap Silver Dragons, to race at the 2009 BC Seniors Games in Richmond Sept 16.
“I’m thrilled and honoured to have been asked to go aboard with the Silver Dragons,” said Shoji who, along with Joan Eley, pioneered dragonboating in Revelstoke. Coach and mentor to the Dam Survivors, Shoji has paddled her way through 25 races. “In June of 2010, I’ll be racing at the Global Dragonboat Festival for breast cancer survivors in Peterborough Ontario.”
Organized by the BC Seniors Games Society, the Games are expected to attract 3,900 competitors in 29 events from the serious to the sublime. One-act plays and pickleball are on the roster along with hockey, swimming, speed skating, track & field, soccer, square dancing, cycling, tennis, curling, darts and more.
Bill Zmaeff, Seniors Games Society director for Zone 8, which reaches from Revelstoke to Blue River to Lillooet says the Games have been a well-guarded secret. “Seniors go year after year for the camaraderie and the friendship but there will be some serious competition at Richmond.”
“I’m not ready for that rocking chair any time soon. Sixty is the new forty,” said Little. “One of our Silver Dragons is 73. There’s a lot of silver hair in that boat, but there’s also a lot of power. We’ve been training hard all summer and I’m totally pumped to be going.”
BC athletes will be some of the first to use the new Richmond Olympic Oval. According to the Games’ website, Richmond, which claims to be the healthiest city in BC with an average life span of 83 years, epitomizes the Games’ objectives of promoting seniors’ health and wellness.
Baby boomers are definitely staying fit and aging well. There has been a dramatic increase in interest at the Games said Zmaeff with this year showing the highest attendance ever. All Games competitors are 55 years or older.
Revelstoke’s John Scarcelli is off again to compete. He had already left for Richmond, but his son John Jr. confirmed that Scarcellli, who is 73, has been competing at the Games for at least 10 years. “Dad just really enjoys it. He got picked up by a Kamloops team for these games, and he still plays slo-pitch with a local fun league, the Silvertips.”
Sorry, no young’uns allowed. The Silvertips are oldies who still play some mean ball. The men are 55 years plus and the women 50 and up.
Also competing in the Games from Revelstoke are Dale Morehouse and Walter Schleiss who will be challengers at bridge.
Hosted in Prince George last year the Seniors Games travel to Comox in 2010 and may be much closer in 2012 if Kamloops wins their bid.
Athletic senior Barb Little is a sometime writer and full-time dog lover