Passing the torch: Youngest, oldest Senior Games participants give reasons for joining

Published 10:59 am Friday, January 14, 2022

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By Carrie Miller
Davie Senior Services

When you think of Senior Games, what comes to mind? Do you talk yourself out of it because you think you won’t know anyone? Do you think it’s too difficult to get up and be active? Do you think it’s all about sports? Do you think you can’t do it because you don’t know how to play the games?
Senior Games is all kinds of things, but it is far from difficult, boring, and lonely. And, anyone age 50 and older can do it.
After the 2021 season wrapped up, Senior Services 2021 Senior Games Co-Coordinator Carrie Miller sat down with two people who represent the spirit of Senior Games – John Bullins and Nancy Tutterow. These two are special representatives of the Davie County Senior Games because they represent the youngest and oldest Senior Games participants and prove that Senior Games is for anyone, regardless of age.
What year did you begin playing Senior Games?
Bullins: “2016 – the year I turned 50 and became eligible.”
Tutterow: “1993 – the first year that Senior Games began in Davie County.”
Why did you begin playing Senior Games?
Tutterow: “When the Davie County Senior Center was first at the Brock, I became involved in a club where there was always something good to eat. Around meetings and visits to the Senior Center, I would go walk in the Brock Gym. While I was walking, a lady working for Mocksville Parks and Rec saw me pick up a basketball and try to shoot a basket. She came up to me and asked me if I’d be interested in joining in the Senior Games – and, after much hesitation, I did.”
Bullins: “I’ve always enjoyed meeting new people and becoming involved in new experiences. It was a great way to start my 50th year of life, it was the first year I was eligible, and it was a chance to become involved with fun, fellowship, and friendly competition.”
What is your favorite Senior Games event?
Bullins: “Pickleball.”
Tutterow: “Long jumps and basketball.”
What is your favorite Senior Games memory?
Tutterow: “I have so many, but the main thing is that in my older years is the wonderful friendships that I have made, and these people have really helped me if I needed help along the way. So, meeting a lot of wonderful people and having friends is my favorite.”
Bullins: “My favorite memory was two years ago when I encouraged my mother to play pickleball mixed doubles with me. We had a super great time.”
Bullins asked Tutterow if she’d ever played against her son (Ray) in Senior Games.
Tutterow: “I competed with my son in Spincasting. I think I got 26 points, and he got none. But, I have done a lot more fishing than he has – I fished at the beach and fished at our pond, so I did have more practice than he did.”
What would you tell someone that is hesitant about joining Senior Games?
Tutterow: “Well, I’ve tried to tell them at some of the meetings we’ve had that I didn’t do anything but play a little softball in high school and knew nothing about any of the other sports, only football, and you can learn. Why not do it? I wasn’t thinking it’d last this long (28 years) when I joined, but thank goodness it did.”
Bullins: “There is an activity or sport for everyone. You can find something that interests you and that you can participate in and be successful in. That’s one thing about Senior Games that I think is so wonderful. There are SilverArts as well as the Senior Games. Age is not a big factor in many of these events. Participation is so important – just come find an activity.”
Is Senior Games more about the competition or camaraderie?
Bullins: “First priority is friendship. Even at the National Games, which is very competitive, it’s really nice to see all of the fellowship that’s going on. The pickleball players are excellent.”
Tutterow: “You meet a lot of people at State that you really love and enjoy seeing them every year. And even though they beat you and all, you know, I’ve only had two that turned around and stormed off. Most come up and congratulate you and hug you, or at least they did back in hugging days.”
Why are Senior Games important to you?
Bullins: “First of all, it keeps me active. Also, I love Davie County, this is where I grew up. I want to support Davie County and represent Davie County at the State level and the National level. It’s an opportunity for mean to combine those things in one program.”
Tutterow: “Friendship, fellowship, and helping others.”
What is your advice to someone to someone who says they can’t do it because they’re too old … to someone who recently turned 50 and can play for the first time?
Tutterow: “Just do it. Get out there and try, and then if you think you can’t, that’s a different story. Just try one time. Just do it.”
Bullins: “Age is just a number. This is another opportunity to participate in activities that represent your great county of Davie County.”
Senior Services invites all Davie residents age 50 and older to join the 29th season of Davie Senior Games starting March 15.
Senior Services will be hosting a Senior Games Kickoff Event on Friday, Jan. 28 at 1 a.m. at the Brock Recreation Center on North Main Street in Mocksville. Learn more about Senior Games and SilverArts. Registration packets will be available and there will be a chance to win free registration.
Direct questions to Senior Services at 336-753-6230.