Thursday, June 30, 2011

North Idaho Senior Games

The NISG ( is a week long series of competitive events for men and women 50 years of age and older. Age groups of five year spans compete in everything from pickle ball to pinochle and where your home is doesn’t matter. There were competitors from several states. About 15 years ago I competed in the cycling event which was my only experience with the games. There was quite a bit of advertising for the event this year and as I would be in the bottom of my age group I decided this would be a good year to give it a try again.

I had been doing some swimming during the tax season at the gym near where I work so I thought I would try some of those events along with the cycling. Injuries had terminated my running some years back but I thought I would see if maybe I could hold it together to do at least a couple of events. Pistol shooting looked good too because I can get plenty of practice on the farm. Even though I hadn’t played much table tennis in many years I thought I’d throw that in to have something to do on Tuesday.

About a month before the competition I went to the track, ran 400 meters at ¾ speed, a 100 about the same and then tried another 400. Just as I was finishing the second 400 I felt a hamstring pull in my right leg. I immediately quit, waited a couple of weeks and tried again. This time it pulled really badly and I knew that was it for the track.

The swimming had been going well until a few days before the competition. The breaststroke is my best event and as I was getting in a final practice there was a young buck in the pool who looked really good. When he tried the breaststroke of course I had to jump in and try to stay with him. And I’ll be danged if I didn’t pull a groin muscle in my other leg. It wasn’t too severe and I figured I could swim just doing a weak kick relying on my arms and shoulders to carry the load.

When I showed up for the ping pong competition I knew I had made a miscalculation. I mean these guys were serious players! It had been so long since I had played not only had the way you score changed but the size of the ball had too. Of course everyone but me had there own paddle. One of the competitors was gracious to loan me one from his arsenal. Actually when I wasn’t returning a serve I didn’t completely embarrass myself but trying to return serves with all kinds of spins was much more than I could handle. To make things even more embarrassing I won (was given) a gold medal because I was the only one in my age group.

Wednesday was the pistol shooting so I show up at the range with my old H&R revolver amongst the competitors with their fancy and expensive semi-automatic target pistols. On top of that the range was so dark I had trouble seeing. This story has a happy ending though because in spite of all that I not only won my age group in the stock competition but had the third highest score overall. I’m now shopping for a target pistol.

Thursday was an off day for me (no competitions) and Friday morning was the swim competition. I signed up for the 50, 100 and 200 meter breaststrokes along with the 50 meter freestyle. My leg was still bothering me but not nearly as much as it was after I finished all the events. They combined the age groups for the actual races and used times to determine the age places. Here again, for some reason, I was the only one in my age group but there was a guy 4 years younger than I am who was a real swimmer. He kicked my butt in every event until the last one which was the 50 meter breaststroke. With a Herculean effort I clipped him by 3 hundredths of a second. However, to be fair, he had swum one or two more events than I had although he was able to coast because he had no real competition.

The cycling was Friday afternoon and the event was a 10K time trial. Time trialing is the weakest phase of my cycling ability but due to lack of competition again I won that. The only person to beat me overall was a friend from Sandpoint 5 years younger who is a world class cyclist.

So I bagged 7 gold medals which I believe was the most of any participant. Now the grandkids will be getting something to use for target practice or Xmas ornaments. M/W


Hallie said...

I hope those medals aren't used for target practice! Did Mom follow you to these events to get the pictures? I can tell the pistol shot is at the farm. What will be different about this fancy target pistol you're seeking? Maybe you'll start competing at the national level or perhaps you'll start a modern day Wild Bill show.

Kathy said...

I attended the swim meet -- that's all. I took many pictures. Someone asked me if I was from the Trib. We agreed that the Trib was conspicuous by its absence. I think there were only seven competitors across all age groups.

After the table tennis match, Mike arrived home to tell me about it. We agreed it was embarrassing, but oh well -- he got a gold medal anyway.

He wants me to compete next year. He figures I could do the cycling and some swimming. Can you just see the folks who knew me in high school reading that I won medals at the senior games? Of course, maybe I wouldn't win any.

murray.warnock said...

Congratulations on cleaning up, Dad. I never had the slightest doubt! Disappointed that you couldn't run, but maybe you could ease into the training next year.

Kathy, I bet you are in much better shape than most of your high school classmates. Most jocks don't age well - Dad is the exception!

Yancey and Kelly said...

Really Dad - they changed the size of the ping pong ball? Maybe just for your age group...was it a yellow and fuzzy, by chance?

Seriously though - Congratulations, and there is a reason so few competed at all. It takes a great deal of courage to put yourself out there. Just ask your son, Murray!

Chris said...

Well done, Mike--you competed and enjoyed, not mention those gold medals. :-) I couldn't even win for speed sewing!! I'm slow at everything!

Leah said...

You go Mike! How wonderful to hear about your competitions. What courage you have to soldier on through the pain. I understand what you feel like with one body part after another sabotaging you. I told a friend yesterday that if I was a car I'd have been recalled.

Mike said...

Thanks for all the kind comments. It seems like I enjoy putting pressure on myself but I really don't. I guess it's just my competitive nature overwhelming my better judgment at times.

Doug said...

Congratulations Grandpa!!!!! great job and very impressive!!! and Thanks for the medal you obviously worked very hard and it payed off!!