New Mexico seniors play around on NMMI campus

March 17, 2013 • Local News

Competition was fierce during basketball games at the New Mexico Senior Olympics Senior Play Day at the New Mexico Military Institute Godfrey Center, Saturday. (Mark Wilson Photo)

Senior competitors traveled from all over New Mexico to compete Saturday at New Mexico Military Institute’s Godfrey Center in the New Mexico Senior Olympics Senior Play Day.

The day featured three-on-three basketball, disc golf lessons, pickle ball, line dancing, martial arts, silver sneakers fitness class and enhanced fitness.

Some 70 participants joined the games and health promotion events.

“This is our first year with our state summer games in Roswell,” said organizer Maegan Sanders.

Disc golf will be [auth] included as an exhibition sport this year before it becomes part of a regular event next year, Sanders said. Roswell has two courses within the city limits.

More than 20 players attended for the basketball.

Lee De Gonzalez, a retired Marine, played on the winning basketball team from Albuquerque. The Persian Gulf veteran said he plays to say in shape and get together with his friends.

“We have fun and enjoy playing,” De Gonzalez said.

Pickle ball was also a popular event, Sanders said. Pickle ball is a game played on a badminton court. Players use wood or composite paddles and perforated plastic baseballs, which look like whiffle balls. The net is lowered to 34 inches at the center.

“It’s just catching on here,” Sanders said. “It’s kind of like tennis.”

The play days are to introduce new physical activities and allow seniors time to socialize while exercising.

Anyone older than 50 is invited to try any activity. One offering is called Silver Sneakers, which is an aerobics class that includes a chair for balance, range of motion and strength. Yoga is also modified with chairs.

“If they didn’t want to go to the gym, they can come here and check it out,” Sanders said. “And the same with disc golf. They have the chance to come and try it out and learn more about the sport.”

The event’s name changed this year to Senior Play Day. The event was also moved to Saturday to allow those older than 50 and still employed a chance to participate.

This summer, Roswell will host the Senior Olympics. The city of Roswell is building horseshoe pits, Sanders said, and other business are “coming around.”

“We’re excited to have it here in Roswell.”

Organizers expect 900 participants.

They also need some 400 volunteers to help out, Sanders said. To volunteer for the summer games, call 627-5777.

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