The B.C. Seniors Games (now the 55+ Games), which ran from Wednesday through Saturday of last week, were an unqualified success.
Almost 3,800 athletes from all parts of the province were on hand to compete in a wide variety of sports events. Three of them have taken part in every single Seniors Games, since they first began 27 years ago.
Langley will likely go down as one of the best hosts for these games, and with good reason. The sporting facilities in this community are outstanding. Langley Events Centre was a tremendous locale for the opening ceremonies and for some of the events. It is busy every day of the year, and is a more complete facility than most communities have at their disposal.
McLeod Park is also an outstanding facility, and there are dozens of others. It is possible to hold virtually any event in this community, from equestrian to rowing.
Then there’s the organizing committee. The list of directors is a who’s who of people who get things done in this community. They are successful individuals, but they are also community-minded individuals. Many have a track record in past events such as the 2010 Summer Games and last year’s highly-successful Special Olympics.
They also have the ability to enlist a large crop of volunteers. Langley is one of the volunteer capitals of this province, and punches far above its weight in this regard. Many people here genuinely like giving up their free time to put on successful community events, and they do so over and over.
The opening ceremony featured outstanding entertainment, including the Langley Ukelele Ensemble, which is one of this community’s best-known musical ambassadors. It was organized by Susan Magnusson, principal of the Langley Community Music School, which is another institution with a sterling reputation.
Representatives of all levels of government (except the Langley Board of Education) were on hand. That is also typical of this community. Federal, provincial and local governments (both of them called Langley) work well together on many projects. Langley truly is one community, even though there are two municipalities.
It was a real pleasure to watch the opening ceremonies and follow the initial athletic activities. The weather was great. The competitors were enthusiastic. The volunteers did a great job. And everybody was having fun.
One of the reasons there is a Seniors Games is to show that people past the age of 55 can take part in many activities and stay physically fit, long into their retirement years. This is good for society. People feel better about themselves, and they are far less of a burden to the health care system.
Langley showed Seniors Games organizers how to put on a great show. Congratulations to the athletes, the volunteers and the board of directors. Congratulations also to B.C. Sports Hall of Fame member David Esworthy, who helped light the Games torch, and to Langley Township Councillor Steve Ferguson, who competed in the Seniors Games for the first time.