The 2022 Saskatchewan Seniors Fitness Association Summer Games kicked off on Tuesday with a splendid opening ceremony, complete with dignitaries, a bagpiper, and most of the athletes competing.
The ceremony took place at ice level at the Art Hauser Centre, with rows of tables present for all of the athletes, volunteers, and officials to be seated for a gala-like mixer.
“The theme of the 2022 games are ‘Play in PA’, I hope each participant thoroughly enjoys playing their sport or activity that you’re into,” stated Saskatchewan Lieutenant Governor Russel Mirasty during the opening ceremony.
Prince Albert MLA Alana Ross expanded on this thought further, directing her speech to the athletes.
“Most importantly, thank you to everyone in the audience. I hope you have a wonderful time enjoying the various games,” she said. “The SSFA Summer Games are truly a staple of the seniors’ community here in Saskatchewan, and I’m so happy that Prince Albert can be the community to host you.
“For this year’s games, there are over 600 athletes and guests here from across the province participating in 11 different events.”
Among those events is a pair of literary competitions, one in poetry and the other in prose. Competition co-ordinator Morley Harrison, a retired English teacher and Vice Principal from Carlton Comprehensive High School has heard the common query about the placement of a literary competition in an athletic competition.
Harrison’s answer was to the point.
“That’s what a lot of people say. They didn’t realize that it occurred, but when you think about what the Saskatchewan games are all about, it is about creating your sense of community,” he said. “To have that sense of community expressed in words is absolutely wonderful.”
Alongside the literature created – which resulted in gold, silver, and medals being distributed alongside the athletic ones – there are some relatively new sports being introduced.
Donna Gignac is a rookie player at the game of Pickleball, who describes the sport as “like playing ping pong but on a court, almost the size of a tennis court. It’s really quick with lots of moving about.”
Looking at the senior athletes trying new sports, Mirasty said they can look to royalty for inspiration.
“If anyone starts to feel that you’re a bit too old to compete or try something new, just remember the Queen,” he said. “She’s been doing her job for longer than most of us have been alive. What a great role model in so many ways.”
The games conclude this Thursday, June 16th.