July 3, 2009

"One for the Ages" by Christian Davis, C & G Sports Writer

C & G Newspapers
MSO 2009 Summer Games

Rochester Post (MI)

July 2, 2009

Christian Davis, C & G Sports Writer

The Michigan Senior Olympics turns 30 this summer, and Sheila Tinnion, the marketing and sponsorship director of the event, said the games are ready to celebrate.

The MSO takes place July 5-12 in Rochester and surrounding communities.

Tinnion said all events are free for spectators and added that fans are encouraged to come out and cheer on the 700 athletes who are taking part in the games.

"We'd love them to come out," she said. "It's great for the athletes to have that support, and this year, because it's the 30th, we're doing some fun social events." One of the major social events is the Dinner and Celebration of Athletes at 5 p.m. July 6 at the Older Person's Commission in Rochester. Tinnion said there will be a disco theme in honor of 1979, the year the games began.

Tickets for the dinner are $10, and guest speaker Bill Laimbeer will join the patrons.

Other social events include the 5K fun run/ walk at 10 a.m.

July 6 starting at the OPC, along with the 30 Frames for 30 Years and the Oldies Party at 3 p.m.

July 8 at Classic Lanes in Rochester Hills.

The cost is $5 for the run/ walk and $8 for the bowling; each guest gets to bowl three games or 30 frames.

"It's just a way of getting the community to support it and for the athletes that are in town to enjoy it, as well," Tinnion said of the social events.

As for the games, there are 39 events, and Tinnion said they are as much about camaraderie as they are about gold medals. "I think it's very upbeat," she said. "You hear a lot of laughter and communication, so everyone is making friends and supporting each other.

"You get a sense that they're here for each other and want to do well for each other."
However, winning a gold medal isn't bad, either.

Gene Meyer, 77, of St. Clair Shores has competed the past 12 years. This time around, he's partaking in bocce ball and a basketball free-throw contest. Meyer has his share of medals, winning a gold in bocce ball three years in a row, but said just staying active is the most important part. "It's not just getting your name in a book," he said. "You've got to keep moving. If you don't move it, you're going to lose it."
Dick Manasseri, 65, of Rochester Hills is going to compete in various pickleball competitions.

This is his third time competing in the MSO, and he has won six medals.

"I think I got in early, when the competition wasn't as strong," he joked. "I think the chances of me repeating will take a real effort this time around." Manasseri said he makes sure to get to other events to support his fellow seniors and witness their athletic ability.

"You'll see seniors throwing the javelin and doing the long jump; it's really impressive," he said. "I have to say, my impression is that those folks are hard-core athletes." For a schedule of athletic and social events, visit the MSO's Web site at www.michiganseniorolympics. org.

You can also register for the social events by calling the OPC at (248) 656-1403.

Sports reporter Sue Teggart contributed to this story. You can reach Sports Writer Christian Davis at cdavis@candgnews.com or at (586) 498-1062.

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