On Wednesday, more than 100 people made their way through the doors of Center in the Park at 5818 Germantown Ave. for the kick-off of Philadelphia Games. For the past 10 years, the non-profit community center has hosted the games, which are open to those aged 50 and older.
“Being an older adult doesn’t mean you’re not an athlete,” said Brannon Johnson, 28, the program director of Center in the Park.
Various Philadelphia Games’ events will be held throughout Philadelphia from Sept. 7 through the 9 and again on Sept. 17.
“I like the bowling and the hot shots, and the horseshoes and the table tennis, but I am best at the bowling,” said Betty Crawford, 72, who said she has come to Philadelphia Games since its beginning. Crawford said she has a bowling average between 140 and 155, depending on her arthritis.
Other activities include line dancing, Bocce Ball, track and field, swimming and cycling. Nearly all of the events from Philadelphia Games are volunteer-based, and a number of those volunteers are senior members from Center in the Park.
“I really enjoy seeing the seniors getting excited about learning to dance,” said Aaron Boyd, the director of line dancing for the Philadelphia Games. “When you
take old music like The Temptations and turn it into a dance, they get really excited. Young kids say, ‘Grandma, I didn’t know you could do that.’”
However, the games are more than just about getting senior citizens to exercise.
“It’s not all about sports. We deal with the whole individual,” Johnson said. “Many people just come back to see their friends.”
Philadelphia Games also includes food demonstrations, information regarding aging and diabetes, and how to stay healthy transitioning into the golden years. The kick-off day offered activities such as massages, live music and free giveaways.
“Aging is something we all do. It’s about enjoying wherever you are in life,” Johnson said. “There are no limitations.”