Mike Dodd is the Midland Mirror/Orillia Today sports reporter.
Maybe it has something to do with the fact I was left without a mom at the age of 18 months of age and my 60-year-old grandmother stepped in to raise me.
But throughout my life, I have regarded seniors as valued treasures.
For that reason I just hate it when they are so unfairly stereotyped and thought too old to participate in society’s events.
Since I first started covering both lawn bowling and shuffleboard as a journalist, my interest in the two sports has grown.
But so also has my anger level, when those in the under-30 generation feel they are too young to be taking part in these sports.
At what point in the evolution of our society did we start to feel we were too old or too young to participate in specific sports?
While it is true that seniors tend to have more leisure time on their hands to participate in various sports, what it comes down to is making time to find the activities you want to do.
Beloved Midland friends Leslie and John Gordon are examples of aging with grace and sometimes adding new sports to their individual menus.
Leslie is as active and energetic a lady as you will find, with golf and an assortment of friends who are into all sorts of social adventures.
It was with a great deal of interest that I watched Leslie take part in lawn bowling this year, having no doubts at all she would bring her competitive spirit and warm personality to the greens. Others were enriched by her presence and no doubt Leslie was provided with an even larger circle of friends.
And if you’ve ever watched lawn bowling on TV or live, the skill level required is high, but the players themselves do not have to be in tip-top physical fitness or ‘buff at 45.’
A pretty competitive basketball player in college John rebounded from injury to play a fairly mean game of golf and is always looking for other challenges.
Seniors from more than nine countries have been in Midland since Aug. 11 to compete at an international shuffleboard event.
Having tried shuffleboard a couple of times, I can say that the shot-making technique is tougher than you think, requiring both mental focus and a wrist action.
And the great thing is I’ve talked to people in their 80s and 90s who’ve played the game for decades.
The trick is if they could get people in their 20s to 40s past the idea that it’s a sport only for the elderly, then they’re sure they would develop some new converts.
In lawn bowling, 39-year-old Penetanguishene native Tim Mason is doing his part to draw younger people into lawn bowling, while in Coldwater, Gary Pipher is trying to spread the word.
It’s just a matter of opening your mind and allowing some new thinking to filter in.
Mike Dodd is a reporter at Orillia Today and The Mirror.
Posted by Stan McCormack. 2018 01 07.