[video] Seniors are realizing a need to stay on top of their games

Minden’s Mr. Sport is quietly, but assertively helping from the wings

By Terrance Gavan

Seniors don’t jog.

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Don't put yourself in a pickle, get with pickleball. Photo by Larry Robinson.

I’m making a blanket generalization here. It’s what we pundits do. We strive to inject muddy, murky and self-serving bamboozlement to make a point. It’s called laying down the gauntlet.

So I’m perfectly aware that some seniors do run. It’s just that for most of us – because I am a senior according to the Ontario Senior Games Association (OSGA)  – jogging is simply too hard on the joints, the ligaments and the assorted wee bones of that anatomical wonder, the foot.

And let’s not forget. It’s bloody boring.

Jogging is high impact. It can be counterproductive. A senior needs activity. But an activity like jogging, even on a svelte rubberized track surface – non extant here in the Highlands – is an iffy proposition. The pedal bones are delicate. And 70 year old foot bones even more prone to creakiness. Lest we forget. The foot bone is connected to the hip bone and the hip bone? Ouch. Have you seen the waiting list for hip replacements? In the plus 65 demographic? Absolutely bone-rattling.

If you’re over 55? Stay away from rugby, marathons, arena football, sky diving, hang-gliding and skate boarding. I’ve done the research. Low impact sports like cycling, tennis, skiing, golf, curling and yes, yoga or tai chi will keep the heart pumping blood to the extremities – like your noggin – while preserving the delicate bones of the pedal joints. For god’s sake keep doing those crosswords. But the zeitgeist is telling us that the key to a successful and healthy retirement rests with exercise.

I did a story on Pickleball this week. In Minden, roughly 100 or so seniors attended a clinic last Friday at the SG Nesbitt Arena. Matt Trinnear an Ontario Senior Games Association executive was there and he told me that Pickleball is probably the fastest growing sport in Ontario for adults 55 and up. People came. They saw. They loved it.

And that’s great. I’ve been here before though. Clinic comes to town. People pop to the groove. The clinic leaves town. And the activity is placed on the bureaucratic to-do list. Ever hear this one?

“Yeah,” one Reeve says to another Reeve. “That sounds like a great idea… can we table that to the County for September discussion?” The second Reeve says to the first Reeve. “Wait, we’ve got that skateboard park symposium slated for the fall, what say we table that Pickleball thing for January?”

And? Pickleball goes the way of most great ideas. Into a swirling miasma of bureaucratic detritus.

We better hope that the medical researcher with the cure for cancer doesn’t have to mow that baby through a Canadian municipal council.

“So what’s next on the agenda clerk McGuillicutty?” said the Reeve to the CAO.

“Well Reeve Prendergrast, we’ve got Dr. Banting Best tabled for a discussion on the universal cure for cancer, but I’d like to remind council that we’ve already tabled a discussion on that new snowplow for eight months, I suggest we ask Dr. Banting Best to come back in six months?”

“Yays? Nays? Great. Tell Dr. Best we’ll see her in a year. That’s lunch folks!”

Ah, me dearies. You scoff. But I started covering Manitoba municipal councils in the 70s. I’ve seen things me hearties. I’ve seen things.

Anyway, I’ve buried the lede. Again.

Minden Hills has this guy Rick Cox. I have no idea what his official title is. All I know is his son Zach is one heckuva good basketball player at Hal High. Oh, and I see young Mr. Cox at almost every event I attend in Minden. He’s there at 8 am in his tiny office at the SG Nesbitt rec complex. I’ve watched him lead a chicken dance recital from his Blackberry. He’s at the rink, on the ball diamonds and he’s spearheaded some innovative adventures.

My point here being. I had an opportunity to talk to him last Friday at the Pickleball clinic.

By the end of that busy morning, Rick Cox and some dedicated members of that Pickleball seniors group had morphed into an action committee.

By the time I popped Rick Cox for a video interview – can be seen at countyvoice.ca – young Mr. Cox had already organized the Wednesday morning Pickleball club.

“With a name like pickleball?” laughed Cox. “It has to be fun. So people can now come to the arena on Wednesday mornings and play Pickleball and they can move upstairs on Wednesday afternoons to play table tennis. We’ve got the facilities. Let’s use them.”

Surely. It. Can’t. Be. That. Easy? Well? Pickleball is now alive and well and living in Minden.

I’m a little worried. Heaven forfend! Uni-lateral decision making? God what if it catches on? In Canada? Thin edge of the wedge alert.

Is there still time to table this sucker? I mean, isn’t there a rule against this kind of thing? Methinks dear knuckleheads; that something’s rotten in the state of Minden Hills.

Or is there? Ah, the rub. A light just flickered somewhere in my bushel basket.

And I just remembered.

I have Dr. Banting Best on speed dial.

Young Mr. Cox? Expect a call from an elderly Irish M.D. on Friday morning.

You know what to do.

Get gav@countyvoice.ca. And any resemblance to councils living or dead is purely coincidental and anecdotal.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]