From Pain To Gain: The Uniqueness And Inspiration That Is The Huntsman World Senior Games
I had a chance to go to the "Million Dollar Quartet" concert Tuesday night along with a few thousand of the seniors in town for the Huntsman World Senior Games at Burns Arena.
The music was fun and I'm sure quite reminiscent for a large portion of the crowd (the songs were primarily from the 1950s). There was a touching tribute to one of the HWSG founders, John H. Morgan, who passed away last year.
Before the concert began, a little musical interlude took place with the big screen/Jumbotron, showing pictures of the flags (with accompanying names) of each of the countries represented at the Games.
Of course the biggest cheer came when the flag of the United States appeared on screen and Canada and Mexico received robust cheers as well. And in a reflection of what's happening in world news, Russia received a clear sounding of boos, while Ukraine received loud cheers during the interlude.
As the concert proceeded, one thing stood out to me as the various singers and instrumentalists took turns at the mic.
They were all impressed with the concept of the senior games.
Most of the performers were well under the 50+ threshold that the Huntsman World Senior Games employs and if they are anything like I was, they'd given little to no thought about their golden years.
We, as humans, tend to live in the here and now. I guarantee I had no thought of what it would do to my future health when I downed that whole pizza in 1980 or sucked down a half-dozen chili dogs in 1987.
But because we have so many seniors here in Washington County and because we've hosted the Senior Games for 35 (yee-haw) years now, I think we've begun to take for granted what being a senior athlete really means.
Competing in your favorite sport as a young person might mean the occasional blister or a slight feeling of tiredness the day after. It wasn't "no pain no gain," it was simply "no pain."
As I've aged I've come to realize that competing in sports is becoming more and more painful. I was injured playing football 40 years ago. Now, remnants from that old injury occasionally flare up. I've had two back surgeries -- meaning playing anything equals dealing with a sore back.
You name it -- tennis elbow, aching muscles, arthritis, poor circulation, neuropathy, bone spurs, artificial knees or hips -- all these things and more make being a senior athlete incredibly difficult.
And yet, more than 11,000 athletes from all over the world (Estonia, Isle of Man!) have come here to compete and inspire.
The band from "Million Dollar Quartet" definitely entertained the senior athletes Tuesday night. But the athletes paid the band back in motivation and inspiration for the future.