042805seniors2.jpgFor 28 years, older citizens in this part of Southwestern Virginia have gathered in April for the New River Valley Senior Olympics where they participate in competitions like the softball throw (and batting), basketball throw, discus and frisbee tosses, bowling and golf.

A record number of more than 200 seniors signed up for this year’s weeklong series of events based out of the Blackburg Community Center and a performance by Montgomery County’s “Seniorettes” cheerleaders (left) kicked off the Olympics Wednesday morning.

“It’s a lot of fun and something that just keeps growing and growing,” says Floyd County Recreation Director Cheryl Whitlock, “and it proves recreation is not just for the young.”

Phyllis Beall of Floyd agrees. She competes every year with her sister, who still lives in their native Giles County.

“Honey, I’ve had three knee replacement operations,” she says, “but that’s not gonna stop me.”

It doesn’t and keeping up with this crowd ain’t easy. I was exhausted after just one day of trying to shuttle back and forth between the Community Center and the Municipal Ball Field. That didn’t bring any sympathy from the partipants.

“Darling you look a little winded,” said one lady as I trudged back from the ball field. “Come on. I’ve got at least 20 years on you. Suck it up!”