Senior moments waiting to be enjoyed

September 24, 2013 

All this week, Galloway Ridge Retirement Community is staging its first 2013 Wellness Olympics.

The week features team activities and contests designed for all levels of ability and interests, from bird-watching and square-dancing to aqua scrabble.

Wednesday’s events for senior at Galloway Ridge include badminton, horseshoes and disc golf.

Thursday’s agenda includes hula hooping, indoor cycling, a basketball shootout and lawn bowling.

Friday features ballroom dancing, Wii bowling, a putting competition, a corn hole game and the closing ceremonies.

Capping the competition Saturday morning will be the Galloway Ridge 5K (3.1-mile) road race, following a USATF course from Galloway Ridge through Fearrington Village, which is tucked just off U.S. 15-501 between Chapel Hill and Pittsboro. Proceeds from the $30 entry fee will go to the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.

Registration for the 5K is still open to the public through or on Saturday at the race site beginning at 8 a.m. The race is scheduled to start at 9 a.m.

Following the race will be an awards ceremony, food trucks, vendors, and music

This week’s Galloway Olympics kickoff the community’s new resident wellness program, designed to encourage and reward participants as they journey toward personal wellness.

“Research shows that today’s retirees are looking for more amenities, more services and wellness opportunities,” said Pat Richardson of Galloway Ridge. “More and more retirees are embracing wellness and are looking for ways to keep fit. The right lifestyle balance will enable them to live healthier and longer.”

Starting in October, activities and programs will be offered through the community’s Life Enrichment Department, and participants will be encouraged to track their activities and along the way, with fun incentives and awards.

In a Pickle at the Tennis Club

Also Saturday, the Chapel Hill Tennis Club, located on Westbrook Drive in Carrboro, officially opens its newly dedicated pickleball courts with a kick-off event, which will be free and open to the public. No pre-registration is necessary.

The pickleball clinic begins with an introductory session from 1 to 2 p.m., followed by a free-play mixer from 2:30-4 p.m. with the CHTC staff.

CHTC club manager Alan Rader said pickleball is a perfect match for those wishing to keep their racquet skills honed while decreasing impact and court coverage challenges.

“Pickleball is a fast-growing sport right now, and you definitely don’t have to cover as much court,” he said. “I think it’s senior-driven, but anybody can play it, and it’s open to the public. For more information, just visit our website at

“I’d read about it and seen a couple videos, but it was a local enthusiast, Jim Wilson who called me,” Rader explained. “He also organized the (Chapel Hill) Community Center clinic last April … so we decided to move forward.”

Named for the pet pooch of late U.S. Congressman Joel Pritchard, the sport once relegated to the Pacific Northwest is now making its way across the nation, including its inclusion in this year’s senior games. Today the sport is played all over the world in community groups, PE classes, YMCA, retirement communities and more. There are more than 100,000 people playing pickleball in the U.S. alone, and the game is growing exponentially, the Pickleball Inc. official website (, stated.

A combination of tennis, badminton and ping pong, Pickleball boasts great exercise appropriate for most any age. The racquet/paddle sport is played with a plastic whiffleball, essentially bridging the gap between table tennis and badminton.

Play is initiated when one player serves underhand, and the opposing side plays their first shot off the bounce. After the ball has bounced once on each side, both teams can either volley the ball in the air or play it off the bounce. No volleying is permitted within the non-volley zone nearest a three-foot-high net.

With three courts now specifically designated for pickleball play at CHTC, Rader said his club stands ready to accommodate any spike in interest he hopes Saturday’s clinic fuels.

“We have three hard courts with (green) pickleball lines,” Rader said, “so they may be used for tennis Quickstart junior tennis, and now pickleball. Those are our courts 16, 17 and 18.”

“Like at April’s clinic at the Chapel Hill Community Center, this will be like a free clinic and information session,” Rader said. “Jim Wilson will be out there with three other local enthusiasts, and he’s an ambassador for the American Pickleball Association. They’ll put on a free clinic and a classic question-and-answer session, plus all of our pros will be on hand, and we’ll all just be playing pickleball.”

CHTC is one of the major year-round tennis, swim, fitness and recreational facilities in the Southeast, operating as a nonprofit, member-owned organization serving the Chapel Hill and Carrboro communities. The club consists of a clubhouse, 29 tennis courts (with six 10-and-under courts), four indoor tennis courts, two platform tennis courts, the three new pickleball courts, a fitness center, an Olympic pool, and pro shop, and an expert staff.

Rader said he’s not ruling out expansion into further racquet sports at CHTC.

“There’s been some talk with our board about some outdoor racquetball courts and perhaps squash courts,” he said. “There wouldn’t be any indoor courts – just outdoor – and they’d have four walls but no ceiling.”

Youth may be wasted on the young, but a youthful spirit is available in heaping proportions to everyone, and that exuberance will come in handy this Saturday, where there’ll be plenty of new memories in the making.

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