Atmore residents go to Olympics

Published 3:11 am Tuesday, May 30, 2006

By By Matthew Nascone
As many people age, their desire for physical activity wanes and they are eventually glued to the couch watching CNN all day and night. But the senior citizens from the Atmore Area Senior Act for Individual Living center, age 55 and older, have not slowed down one bit.
Every day a group of seniors meets for lunch and social time at the SAIL center. And last year a group of this group began participating in the South Alabama Regional Commission and the Area Agency on Aging Masters Games Tournament.
Christine Sowell, Jean Wilson, Alice Klopfenstein, Jeanette Gibson, Mildred Hall, Lafayette Sowell, Charles Wilson, Grady Slay, Eulla Sullivan and Francis Dukes competed in basketball throw, Frisbee throw, Nerf ball throw, softball throw, horseshoes, checkers, dominoes, rook, billiards, shuffleboard, swimming, table tennis, tennis and bowling from May 3 until May 24.
"This is a great way for them to stay active," Atmore SAIL center director Charlotte Purvis said. "And they look forward to every event."
Purvis said this is the second year the Atmore SAIL center has been involved in the Masters Games.
On May 16 nine of the seniors participated in the Baldwin County portion of the Games in Orange Beach. This section of the Games consisted of billiards, shuffleboard, swimming, table tennis and tennis. The athletes were split into male and female groups based on age.
Hall won the shuffleboard and placed second in the billiards and table tennis competitions. Dukes won the table tennis competition and placed second in the shuffleboard. Wilson came in second behind Dukes in table tennis.
The Escambia County portion of the Games May 9 was held at the Poarch Band of Creek Indians SAIL center and the athletes tested their mental strength in checkers, dominoes and rook.
Christine Sowell took second place in both checkers and dominoes. Slay and Hall each won their respective divisions of the dominoes and Lafayette Sowell placed second in dominoes. Dukes placed third in both dominoes and checkers.
The group went to Mobile May 3 to compete in the basketball throw, Frisbee throw, Nerf ball throw, softball throw and horseshoes.
Christine Sowell won first place in the Frisbee throw and the Nerf ball throw and third place in the basketball throw and softball throw. Wilson placed second in the softball throw and Nerf ball throw.
Klopfenstein won the softball throw, Frisbee throw and horseshoes. She placed second in the Nerf ball throw and basketball throw. Gibson placed second in the basketball throw and third softball throw.
Hall won the basketball throw and placed third in the Nerf ball throw. Lafayette Sowell won the Frisbee throw, Nerf ball throw and horseshoes and placed third in the softball throw.
Wilson placed third in the softball throw. Eulla placed third in the basketball throw.
The competition is between seniors in Mobile, Escambia and Baldwin counties and the four sites were part of the district competition.
All the athletes who placed first, second or third place have advanced to compete in the state playoffs in Valley sometime in October.
"They will get to go on a chartered bus and it is an all expenses paid trip," Purvis said. "This is just one of the benefits out there for them and it is great that it is for people 55 and over. Because most of the benefits for seniors are for 60 and over."
Purvis said she enjoys her job as director and she has something to look forward to every day.
"I don't think they ever leave here without a laugh," she said. "That is the type of atmosphere we have here and we love it."

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