News and Sports Stories
Washington is first state to offer Rock Climbing as sanctioned sport in 2013
Nevada is second in 2017. Goal: National Games recognition
Interest in rock climbing has exploded all across the nation and world, as affirmed by its inclusion in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and in the 2018 Rio Youth Olympics. Washington State Senior Games has embraced the enthusiasm and will host its 5th Rock Climbing Event this Summer for the 2017 competitions.
Starting small in 2013, Washington State Senior Games hosted a total of 7 rock climbing participants, ranging in age from 50 to 69 (4 women and 3 men). The event has grown progressively with each year and has expanded to competitors also competing in the 70 to 79 age category and arriving from locales spanning from the north to south borders of Washington State. The camaraderie, support, and fun of the climbing community have been evident throughout the competitions while the adrenalin of a route well climbed was ever present.
The Summer of 2016 was marked with additions to the event not previously included, further raising the infectious zeal that is exhibited at this competition. While gold, silver, and bronze medals have always been awarded, 2016 also included prizes from both national and local sponsorships. This list included Kühl Outerwear, Adidas Outdoor, Mountain Khakis, Camp Climbing, Vital Climbing Gym, Orca Books, Rainy Day Records, Hart’s Mesa, and Olympia Thriftway. Present throughout the event to address any muscular or stress-related discomforts was a Shiatsu practitioner, providing free treatment to anyone in need. The ever increasing growth of enthusiasm toward this event has been heightened with the construction of a brand new gym. Initially held at the Warehouse Rock Gym (in Olympia Washington), the 2017 Games will be hosted at their new facility (with the name changed to Cirque Climbing) which boasts wall heights up to 45 feet and a much larger venue (11,000 square feet of roped climbing). Organizers of the event have playfully set their sights on event participation so large as to require the services of a food truck vendor!
Climbing indoors while wearing a harness and using top ropes, participants have 3 hours to complete routes of choice, with options ranging in skill level from beginner to highly advanced. With points received for each completed route (based on difficulty), a final score is calculated as the sum of the top 3.
While many sports qualify for and advance to participation in the National Senior Games, a rock climbing event has only been held in Washington State, to date. The goal has always been to work toward growth in the state specific event but also in increasing a general interest in rock climbing for an older than norm population in this sport. The hope would be to expand the event to many states beyond just Washington, with an eventual participation in the National Senior Games. With the Summer approaching, Nevada has now announced its intent to host a rock climbing event this year in the Nevada State Senior Games as well. Being a resident of either state is not a requirement for participation, so grab those climbing shoes and come join us in Olympia Washington on July 23rd and Henderson Nevada on September 23rd!
by Pamela Firth
Women’s team gets ‘personal’ over no one to play with
When it gets really bad, you have to place a personal ad.
That’s the strategy, in a nutshell, for The Port Townsend Drizzle, a frustrated women’s basketball team who cannot find another team in all of Washington to play against at the Washington State Senior Games.Using the humor and “hook” of the personal ad, about 10 members of the team gathered at their practice gym recently to work out a way to portray their plight in the form of a video.
“Forlorn senior women’s basketball team seeks more teams to end our lonely days at the Senior Games in Olympia,” begins their pitch, mimicking a lonely hearts ad.
“You can be honest. Is it us? For the last two years we’ve had to divide up and play against each other.”
Team co-founder Robin Stemen is the brainchild behind the personal ad. She says the humor is intentional, but the message behind it––that 2017 will mark the third consecutive year that the Drizzle will be the only women’s basketball team at the Senior Games––is serious in its own right. “Basketball is so much fun. Our practice sessions play a big role in our lives. We can see what a big difference this is making, health-wise,” Stemen says.
“So this begs the question, ‘Where are the other women players? The other women teams?’” Stemen asks. “This is far too much fun to be doing it all alone.”
“Washington is a big state with a lot of cities bigger than Port Townsend,” adds team co-founder Joanna Sanders, “and there’s got to be some women hoopsters out there, somewhere.”
“Come on and give us a shot,” Sanders says. “We won’t bite. Might pick-and-roll you ‘till you can’t see straight. Might shut you down with some heavy D––but we certainly won’t bite.”
The Senior Games 3-on-3 basketball tournament takes place July 22 at Capital High School in Olympia. Women up for the challenge need to be at least 50 years or older and register by July 11 (May 26 to receive a significant discount).
For more information and to see the Port Townsend Drizzle “personal ad” video.
A detailed and very entertaining profile of The Drizzle and their history can be found here (courtesy of the Port Townsend Leader)