I recently had the pleasure of meeting an amazing and inspirational woman, Jane Soeten, who is now 88, and an active participant in the Senior Games, also known as the Senior Olympics. Jane has even been featured on the Rosie O’Donnell Show, and is also a recipient of the Humana May 2015 Athlete of the Month.
She has traveled all over the country since 1989, participating in the National Senior Games, most recently qualifying in 2013 at the Alaska International Senior Games in Fairbanks, taking home gold medals in four sporting events in her division, women age 85-90.
She has won medals participating in running, swimming; basketball and the hammer throw, and also plays racquetball. When she was 65 and living in her native Oklahoma, her doctor told her to “use it or lose it” so Jane decided to “use it” and soon entered Tulsa’s local Senior Games in Track and Field. She moved to Wasilla from Oklahoma several years ago to be closer to her daughter, and has since received a Congressional Medal for her service in the Civil Air Patrol during World War II.
To say that Jane is an inspiration is an understatement. She made me think of an athletic future to strive for while not denying the truth of what I would qualify for right at this very moment, if there were such Olympic Events:
Cleaning Out Your Purse Competition
I actually achieved this today. It only took me six hours (with numerous breaks) to throw out two weeks of worthless papers that I just had to carry around for no apparent reason. Can anyone identify with this?
Finding my Car in a Parking Lot Competition
This is a great idea for an Olympic medal! Just line up ten contestants past the age of fifty in the arena parking lot and time who finds their car first. Hopefully, the sun will not set by the time everyone is finished. I began losing my car in parking lots and garages after the age of forty two – give or take seven or eight years, I don’t exactly remember when, obviously.
This competition is quite delicate. See how many competitors need to use a magnifying glass along with their prescription lenses in order to read the ingredients on a food label of anything, a phone book, or the font of a book that they still have from thirty years ago. This should prove to be much more interesting than watching a game of golf or bowling, as well as observing paint drying.
Getting excited about these new competitions, I discovered new events for other participants:
The Teenage Olympics
What could be a better sport for teenagers then – wait for it –
This can easily be followed by
The Disgruntled Shrug Competition
To be concluded by
Screaming and Laughing at all Things Zombie
To be accompanied by
The Man Olympics
Snoring as Loudly as Possible Games
Passing Gas – which Emission is the Most Lethal?
Long Distance Peeing
This competition also has seasonal variations, depending on the amount of snowfall. Consider different words that can be written in the snow, with the winner having the final ‘say’ in the font of the judges’ choice.
I suppose anything can become competitive, if given the opportunity. Nevertheless, my hat goes off to Jane for her wonderful accomplishments. Correction – my hat is thrown a great distance, further than all hats have ever been thrown. Don’t sue me because I might have cheated…there were high winds gusting in Palmer, Alaska today.