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A little bit of history for those who do not know it!
In 1987, following a heart attack, it occurred to Beatrice Victor that perhaps those of us who had reached 50 plus were neglecting our bodies and minds -- because we were so occupied with caring for our families and, in some instances, also going to work outside the home, and possibly were eating improperly, smoking and drinking to excess. Having heard of Senior Olympics elsewhere in the country, it occurred to Bea that perhaps such an activity might be helpful to her fellow Staten Islanders.
Beatrice Victor approached the board of the Jewish Community Center with the idea, then the NYC Parks Department, then the YMCA, the NYC Department for the Aging and finally the then-editor of the Staten Island Advance, Les Trautmann. He said, "If you can get the Y and the J to work together, we will support you."
They all came together and a wonderful activity was launched, "The Senior Olympics of SI." In 2016, the Beatrice Victor Senior Olympics is proud to add the College of Staten Island to our list of sponsors. The sneakers for BVSO were designed by Meryl Salmon for the first application and the Olympic wreath was added by Julia Kary, who came up with the idea of using the Olympic wreath on the 2016 program.
Several years ago, when the Senior Olympics chairing duties were passed to the wonderful, efficient, caring Marie Ellner, Beatrice Victor was honored when the name of the event was changed to the Beatrice Victor Senior Olympics (BVSO). Sadly, Marie passed away. At first, the efficient Al Holtje picked up the job and now, for a third year Paul and Mary Anne Stallone, with the assistance of a wonderful working committee and the dependable, staunch supporters, are making certain Senior Olympics will be available for all Staten Islanders who are 50 plus.
Why, you might be asking, is this only for Staten Islanders? When the original sponsors met to help organize the activities, the decision was made to avoid the possibility that some folks who are particularly skilled, travel around entering competitions anywhere -- not giving the home folks a chance to win -- would take over the games. It also was decided to divide all activities into age groups, further giving more people a chance to win those coveted medals -- gold, silver and bronze.
Yes, all those who do the planning, organizing, publicity, etc. must be 50 or over. The concept is to give those who are leaving "middle age" and entering the glorious "senior group" the opportunity to prove to themselves, their families, their friends and/or competitors that they are just as good as they always were -- while they're having fun, sharing expertise, making friends and learning new skills.
Senior Olympics activities are: Ballroom Dancing, Basketball Shoot, Bocce, 8 Ball Pool, Bowling, Bridge, Darts, Canasta, Checkers, Chess, Cornhole, Croquet, Golf, Horseshoes, Mahjong, Miniature Golf, Pickleball, Pinochle, Predict-a-Pace, Scrabble, Shuffleboard, Swimming, Table Tennis and Tennis.
Applications will be available starting in May at the YMCA, JCC and Parks. Those who participated in 2016 will be mailed one. Applications also will be available online at the JCC and YMCA websites and Facebook. The fee for registration, which includes the final get-together after the games have ended, remains the same.
Participants entering physical events are encouraged early in the year to slowly get into shape so that ambulances will not have to be used.