By Tamas Mondovics
For more than three decades, the annual Hillsborough County Senior Games has been bringing together hundreds of local residents, 50 years and older to compete in a wide variety of athletic activities.
The three-week competition will feature plenty of intense athletic battles as participants vie for gold, silver, or bronze in sporting events such as powerlifting, cycling, golf, pickleball, swimming, tennis, track and field, table tennis, billiards, bowling, bean bag toss, dominoes, darts, baking, hobby show, and a talent showcase.
Of course, while the program is about healthy competition, for most participants it’s about much more than that as it brings together friends and, sometimes families, such as in the case of Robert Williams, 89, who is once again ready to compete in every track event and every swimming event.
Williams, has four sons, six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren and will be joined by his son, Jeffrey Williams, 63, who has made arrangements to travel from New Jersey for a chance to compete in the track events alongside his dad.
““I’ll just be trying to keep up with him,’’ Jeffrey said, adding that his father, a WWII Navy Veteran, a competitive swimmer, who keeps an active lifestyle, which includes, playing Tennis as well as swimming laps for an hour at least three times a week.
Last year, at age 88, Robert competed in 15 events, winning Gold in most, and taking Silver and Bronze in the rest.
“My dad has been an inspiration for all of us and I am so excited to be able to fly in to compete with him this year,” Jeffrey said, while crediting his dad’s active lifestyle to his involvement with the YMCA as an executive director.
“Dad’s motivation now is to stay healthy, not just for his own sake, but to be able take care of his wife, Buni who has been placed in a local assisted living home,” Jeffrey said.
“The Senior Games offer activities for socializing and competing, while having fun with your peers,’’ said Debbie Robinson with Parks & Recreation, which organizes the games.
Registration is $30 and includes two tickets to theCelebration Luncheon at All People’s Life Center, 6105 E. Sligh Ave. in Tampa on Friday, October 14.
To see the full schedule of activities and to register for 2016 Senior Games, visit hcflgov.net/seniorgames or call (813) 744-5595, ext. 38206.