Seniors from the Semiahmoo Peninsula proved age is nothing but a number, bringing home a cache of hardware from the BC Seniors Games.
Longtime friends LaVerne Brown, 73, and Floyd Stanley, 71, brought home gold medals in tennis, in the mixed doubles age 70-74 category, at the annual event held in Kamloops, Aug. 20-24.
“We made a good team,” Stanley said, noting with a laugh that this year was the first time they had played together at the Games. “It was very worthwhile and lots of fun.”
The athletic duo played for all four days of the competition, with Stanley adding to his workout by competing in the men’s single age 70-74 category, netting himself a bronze in that division.
“We’re both quite competitive,” Stanley said. “It’s not easy bringing home the gold.”
The duo, who have an extensive athletic background, have been playing tennis for the last 14 years, with many matches enjoyed at the White Rock Tennis Club.
For Brown, picking up the racket came at the suggestion of her husband. The avid golfer was skeptical to trade in her clubs at first, but soon fell in love with the game.
For Stanley, the former physical education instructor began teaching the sport in class, enjoying it so much that he took his instructors course.
“You can tell the difference between seniors who are healthy and active and the ones who aren’t,” Brown said. “I say it adds years.”
Stanley noted that the win wasn’t only beneficial to their health, but a note of pride for the senior community in White Rock and South Surrey.
“The reaction from friends is that you did us all proud,” he said.
“When I think of my dad, he could not have done what our generation is doing. We’ve got to stay fit and you have to work out.”
Joseph Incantalupo, who is also a co-ordinator for the Games, brought home the gold for men’s doubles in the 74-79 age group.
The South Surrey senior noted that while winning was a wonderful experience, more important to him was seeing seniors of all ages on their feet and getting active.
“If you have motivation in your life, it helps you maintain your health,” he said.
It wasn’t just tennis players who brought home medals.
South Surrey’s Kerbey Young won a rainbow of medals for table tennis, with a bronze in mixed in the 60-64 age group, a gold in men’s doubles (60-64) and silver in men’s single (60-64).
The 62-year-old had gotten back into the sport at the encouragment of his friend and local teacher Don Fleming after nearly 15 years as he neared his retirement last year.
Young’s co-workers had also come together to support his athletic endeavor, gifting him with the more-than-$300 paddle he used at the Games.
“(The Games) were a lot of fun. Probably the biggest thing for me was the people I ended up meeting and the social aspect,” he said. “I’m really realizing that people who are older, at the next stage beyond me, you think of dementia and Alzheimer’s and all those things. I’m noticing a lot that people who are socially inactive spend too much time alone. With this whole social network I’ve become a part of are, this group is active and engaged and they’re learning new things.
“More than being a superstar, it’s those things that are really something important.”
For more, visit www.bcseniorsgames.org