Saturday, October 25, 2003
Every October, in the desert near St. George, Utah, thousands of senior citizens prove that they don't have to slow down just because they are getting older.
The athletes at the World Senior Games, who must be at least 50 and are often much older, compete in 20 different events in a two-week period.
The sports range from cycling and softball to bridge and lawn bowling. There are also lots of medical screenings and social activities to go along with the main events.
The athletes want to win, but are really just happy to get a chance to compete.
I've never witnessed the games first hand, but I've had the chance to chat with Oak Creek's Bill Meyers, one of the event's biggest stars.
Anyone who has met Meyers, or seen him training in Yampa Valley, knows he's a perfect example of who you want to be at his age.
The 66-year-old trains and competes on road racing bicycles every year from March to October. He also lifts weights, cross country skies and snowshoes when he is not racing.
And Meyers didn't even start racing until after he retired.
He was at an age when most people start thinking about relaxing, not competing, and today he rides more miles in a week than many people who are half his age.
He will tell you that it is hard work at his age, but he can't seem to escape the thrill of riding fast.
He proved he can ride fast by sweeping every race for the past two years in St. George, and he shows no signs that he will slow down anytime soon.
While Meyers is a great example, he is not alone.
Despite the fact that as we get older, staying active gets harder and harder, it seems that people are staying more active into their senior years. I've seen it on the softball field, in the running series and many other places.
It seems for Meyers, and for the other seniors who compete every year in St. George, the word "relax" is not in his vocabulary.
Instead of dreaming about spending their golden years bathing in the sun, these people have turned retirement into one of the most active times of their lives.
Events such as the World Senior Games have given them a place to hone their competitive edge against athletes in their age bracket.
In a world that is driven by youth culture, it's great to see Meyers and athletes like him not only refuse to surrender to the long-accepted belief that you have to slow down as you get older, but continue to prove that it's just not true.
Every time Meyers jumps on the back of his bike to train and compete, he proves that age is not determined by years, but by the feelings that live in a person's heart.
Living in an active community such as Steamboat leads me to believe that events such as the World Senior Games will continue to grow in the future.
Thanks to people like Bill Meyers, I have something to shoot for when I reach retirement.