These blogs are my personal, idiosyncratic observations about aging, training, and sports competition.
To access previous blogs, click "Read Other Blogs" at the bottom of this page.
Paddling in Torino -- World Masters Games 2013
Winning - May 11, 2012
Can Too Much Exercise Be Bad for Your Heart - March 11, 2011
The 60 Minute Crawl - January 30, 2011
Playing Tennis Again - October 6, 2010
Why Compete? (2) - June 15, 2010
LOST - May 24, 2010
Happy Birthday to Me - May 18, 2010
Why Compete?(1) - April 30, 2010
Val Barnwell - April 14, 2010
Spring Training Day - April 4, 2010
Becoming Bionic - March 24, 2010
The Divided Kingdom - February 4, 2010
May 15, 2017
I have just returned from the World Masters Games in Auckland, New Zealand (There is more information on the World Masters Games on this website; just click on "Sports" and then scroll down to "World Masters Games.")It was my 7th time competing in the Games. My first was in Brisbane, Australia in 1994. The Auckland Games were as big as any with 27,000+ athletes from 100 countries competing in 28 different sports and countless discipline within those sports. Some other figures:
• Oldest Athlete -- 101 year old Man Kaur of India. She entered the 100m, 200m, shot put, and javelin.
• Number of athletes over 80: 277
• Number of athletes from New Zealand: 10,000 (37% of all athletes)
• Gender percentages: 55% male, 45% female
• Sport with the greatest number of athletes: soccer (football to Kiwis)
• Average age of the athletes: 54 years old
I competed in flatwater kayaking (marathon and sprints) and tennis (singles and doubles). While the idea of international competition is wonderful, the actual mixing of athletes is somewhat limited because competition at one's own venue limits visits to other venues (especially if you're playing two sports). Most of the competitors in kayaking were New Zealanders, Aussies, Russian, and other Eastern Europeans. My competitors in tennis consisted of New Zealanders and Australians, although my doubles partner was a Hungarian living in Sydney.
The most enduring and endearing aspect of these games is the good feelings among the competitors. It is what keeps me coming back every four years. The blemishes on modern big-time sports -- bragging and trash talk -- simple don't exist here. My opponents in both sports were unfailingly welcoming, generous, helpful. In addition to the camaraderie, I like the high level of age-group competition, particularly in "minor" sports which often don't draw lots of older athletes. These games were well-organized with more than 4,000 volunteers who went out of their way to help and guide the athletes.
Finally, New Zealand is simply a beautiful place to visit. From waterfalls tumbling hundreds of feet into fjords to grassy meadows full of sheep to spindrift blowing off mountain peaks, it is a place you want to visit.
The 2021 World Masters Games will be held in Kansai, Japan. Be There!