Lifelong learning is the goal and purpose of OLLI, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. This summer, six members of OLLI demonstrated that this purpose also applies to athletics. They competed in the California State Senior Games in archery. These games are part of the national Senior Games Association, which is found in all fifty states and promotes a healthy lifestyle for people over age fifty. One of 29 sports represented, the archery event took place on June 6th in Van Nuys.
Our six OLLI members competed in the Double 300 round against competitors from all over California, shooting 60 arrows at a distance of 20 yards, aiming at a 16-inch target. The top three in their age category earned State Senior Game Medals and the right to compete next year.
How did this exciting venture happen? Who are these participating members? Our adventuresome members who trained with instructor Mel Leach are Theresa Alletto, Larry Laurie, Bruce Bishop, Tim
Teahan, Steve Borges, and Richard Crogan. Third-time competitors Theresa and Larry, have each trained for four years and have won medals in prior California Senior Games. After three years of training, Bruce competed for the first time. Other first-time competitors are Tim and Steve, each after two years of training, and Richard after one year. Mel Leach, the instructor of the OLLI archery program and a medal winner for 20 years, is very proud of our OLLI athletes.
Seven OLLI members competed in the California Senior Games (most for the first time ever). These archers have expressed what the experience was like for them. Their statements reflect the goal of OLLI Archery – Accepting the Challenge.
After the bow/age divisions with final results, the archers’ personal statements follow.
Recurve Score 443 Gold Medal – 75
“Hello, OLLI Rising Stars, from your coach. You did it; You did it up right. Congratulations for accepting the challenge, for the bravery to stand on the line and fire, and for accomplishing your personal best. I so appreciated you sharing the California Senior Games Championships with me. You are challenged to return next year for more fun with flying arrows.”
Barebow Score 159 Bronze Medal - 75
“The challenge of these games, for me, was to alter my method to barebow (shooting without a sight) immediately before the tournament and compete anyway. It might better be characterized as harebrained, but I enjoyed the competition and the company of such amiable and skilled archers.”
Recurve Score 312 Gold Medal – 70
“Inspirational achievements are threefold: 1-Fortification of passions. 2-Refinement of innate skills. 3-Encouragement of challenge in my peers.”
Barebow Score 402 Gold Medal – 65
“The greatest challenge for me is the mental focus necessary to produce good shots. While it’s fun to simply shoot arrows down the range at a fixed target, mentally focusing the entire time brings a different perspective to the sport. It’s even more challenging when I’m engaged in a competition standing between other archers and trying to ignore their presence.”
Recurve Score 286 Silver Medal – 65
“This was my first tournament, so the unfamiliar setting caused a lot of pressure. That made it difficult to remember and try to use all of the principles I learned in class. In spite of the pressure and anxiety, it was a great experience to meet and shoot with a group of new friends.”
Recurve Score 288 Bronze Medal – 65
“Challenge, bravery or accomplishment, yea boy, it was all of that. I was expecting the challenge, that was a no-brainer and I did OK. I think mostly toward the end my confidence improved. The bravery part came when I choked right at first, and I mean I really choked, but I kept going. I was surrounded by some very good archers and didn’t want to look bad. I did what I was taught and things began slowly to work out as I hit some bulls-eyes.
I enjoyed the experience a lot!“
Recurve Score 157 Fourth place - 65
“When I first signed up for the archery class, taught by Mel Leach, the clerk asked why I was taking the class. I flippantly responded ‘because I want to go to the Senior Olympics.’ HA, I thought to myself. Two years later, I not only participated in the senior games, but also accomplished a fourth place win! HA! indeed. Never doubt that you can accomplish anything in your life. It begins with one step and a wild abandonment to stretch beyond your comfort zone and just follow through.”