|While this year’s Regional Boomer and Senior Games in Berea didn’t draw as many participants as last year–a drop from 70 to 53 competitors—event organizers called the entire day a giant success.Hosted on September 12 in the Seabury Center and surrounding outdoor facilities at Berea College, the day was full of inspiration and awe. Smiling faces and sunny dispositions were everywhere. Standing on the track watching the track and field competition unfold, a sense of pride rolled in with the morning fog, persisting the entire day whereever participants were found. It was truly moving to watch a generation of competitors surpass personal records and perform at levels that would rival even the youngest of us. Blue shirts marking the athletes and yellow shirts identifying the volunteer staff of students and Berea citizens mingled and worked together with harmony.
Lending its origins to the National Senior Games of 2007, hosted in Louisville, KY, the Regional Boomer and Senior Games got their start here at Berea with Bluegrass Area Development Aging Program Assistant Randy Lawson’s desire to reach part of the population that he felt wasn’t given sufficient attention—the young baby boomers of the late 1940s and 1950s. Intergenerational Center Director of Berea Paula Woodman also expressed her desire for an outreach program of the same sort and, knowing that the facilities for hosting such an event were limited, Paula thought of Berea College’s Physical Education Department and facilities. When pitched the ball, Berea College’s finest stepped up to the plate and hit a grand slam. Additional sponsors of the event included St. Joseph-Berea Hospital, Subway and Caretenders.
Employing the help of Berea physical education department personnel Kelly Ambrose, Sandy Williams, John Mills, Allen Jackson, JB Barrett, Susan Spalding, Joy Hager, and Melody Srsic, Martha Beagle organized this and last year’s Regional Boomer and Senior Games. While the process was a challenge and sometimes chaotic and stressful, the end result was highly satisfying for everyone involved, participants and volunteers alike. Over 100 of the Berea College student body showed up to help out with events across the board, their efforts organized by Melody Srsic. Athletic events included badminton, basketball (3 on 3), cycling (10 & 20 K), golf (18 holes), racquetball, swimming, track & field, and tennis (singles, doubles & mixed doubles).
Martha Beagle extended her gratitude to everyone involved. “It was a wonderful opportunity for Berea College students and the entire day could not have happened without them,” she said. “ So thank you students and thank you Boomers and Seniors–for showing us a future full of hope and vivaciousness. We look forward to seeing you in the years to come.”
Dr. Martha Beagle, department of Physical Education and Health