‘Age is a feeling, not years’: Oxford seniors compete at Masters Games

Age is only a number, what is significant is how old you feel, a speaker told participants at this year’s Senior Center Masters Games kickoff breakfast Monday morning.

The breakfast followed a fitness walk which got the two-week activities off to a good start despite an overcast sky and a chill in the air.

A variety of indoor and outdoor activities will continue through this Friday offering those 50 and older the opportunity to compete in hikes and games intended to get bodies moving as well as things like card games for those unable to compete in the more vigorous games.

Miami’s first field hockey coach, Lil Fesperman, was the speaker for the kickoff breakfast and she started off by saying she likes fall because of football, the start of school and the Masters Games.

“Age is a matter of feeling, not a matter of years,” she said, the posing a question, “How old would you feel you are if you did know how old you are?”

That prompted several in the audience to call out various ages until one voice said, “Teenager.”

That enthusiasm carried into the competitions, including a Tuesday afternoon bocce ball tournament on the TRI grounds.

The first game of the event eliminated a team of Jay Fry and Norma Schaner but not before they came from behind to force a tie where the final point would decide the game. One of the onlookers called out, “Nailbiter,” the which Schaner said, “I hate this.”

They were down early, came back to a 5-5 tie in a game played to 10 points. The team of Don Davis and Anne Morris-Hooke then went up 9-5, seemingly on their way to an easy win but Fry and Schaner kept taking single points each turn in a game where four balls are played and could potentially score four points on a turn. When it got to 9-9, however, the string ended and the Davis/Morris-Hooke duo prevailed.

“I play this once a year for three years,” Schaner said with a smile.

The winning team in that game went on to finish in a two-way tie for third place with a team made up of Loma Wynn and Lucy Herndon.

Winning the tournament were Jim “Woody” Woodruff and Evelyn Coltharp who opened their afternoon competition with a close game which eliminated the Davis/Morris-Hooke team.

Finishing in second place for the bocce ball tournament were Dana Vaughn and Elizabeth Foley. They started out with a relatively easy 10-5 win over Wynn/Herndon helped by some nice scoring by Foley who won the game with three points on her final turn.

“I played a lot in Florida, but not on this kind of grass,” Foley said.

Players found the grass rather long due to not getting the lawn mowed after all the recent rain but they had fun and played a competitive tournament.

It was the kind of event envisioned by Fesperman a day earlier at the kickoff with a group of friends gathering for a single purpose but talking, enjoying the time together and joking with each other.

“The Masters Games allow us to do things together,” she had said. “Every time I walk into the Senior Center, there are people doing things in groups.”

She had hearkened back to memories of doing things together as kids—making Christmas tree forts, watching a black-and-white television with no remote. She said regular exercise is good for health and the center and the games work to do that.

“Some people are old at 20. Some people are young at 90,” Fesperman said. “I don’t think of myself as elderly. I can pretty much do what I want to do when I want to do it. I’m truly grateful for not feeling my age.”

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