Sunday, November 06, 2005

At the Huntsman World Senior Games this year

A man with white hair and a cane made his way from the locker room to the side of the pool. As other swimmers climbed up to the starting blocks, someone took his cane and he lowered himself into the water.

The starter advised “take your mark,” the strobe flashed, the buzzer sounded, and this 80-year-old athlete extended his arm, caught the water, rolled and pulled himself forward almost as if he grabbing hold of the rungs on an invisible ladder. And he did it again and again and again for 800 meters, 32 lengths of that pool. He reached and pulled long, smooth, strong--yet relaxed and steady.

He finished in 18 minutes, 59 seconds. Not the fastest in his group of 80-84 year old men, but good enough for a bronze medal. He finished to applause and cheers of many younger seniors including me. People helped him out of the pool. Someone handed him his cane. He again walked slowly, but his face glowed, his eyes twinkled.

Competing at the Senior Games is new for me. I’ve only done it twice. But I hope to go back year after year as long I can. One of the rewards is the perspective it provides. I see what others are doing and I’m inspired to follow them