The Seacrest Olympicsby Jacqueline Bull September 26, 2018
The Seacrest Olympics or Seacrest Games in non-Olympic years is an annual sporting competition of the residents of Seacrest Village. Lori Officer, Senior Fitness Program Coordinator of Seacrest in Encinitas, works with the residents on their day-to-day fitness as well as coordinates and emcees the games.
“It’s evolved over the years. It’s changed as I’ve added staff and had more help with it. And every year it’s just a little different depending on who takes part in it,” Lori said.
The games have existed for more than 10 years. In the past, Lori would try to coincide it with Active Aging Week, which is sponsored by the International Council on Active Aging. This proved to be a challenge, since Active Aging Week often would overlap with the High Holidays. This coupled with recent years having a very hot August or early September, has prompted the move into the fall.
The games consist of three different events with separate categories for the assisted and independent living communities and men and women. (Some years they have co-ed events).
“People can compete in one, two or three of them and while they are not competing, they get pom-poms and noise makers and can be cheerleaders. If they are not comfortable competing at all, they can come for support and be cheerleaders and have signs and blow on those kazoo things and make a lot of noise,” she said.
The events are switched up every year, but they typically start with distance throw. Athletes test their skills throwing bean bags on a putting green from a starting line. They get three trials and are counted by their furthest one.
An event they had last year was a curl and press where residents, either sitting or standing, could do a bicep curl, press overhead and see how many reps they could complete.
“We have also done one called ‘Walk the Line.’ I measure out an 8-inch width almost like a balance beam [and] we tape it on the concrete. If they have a walker, they can use the walker or the cane, but their feet have to stay in that 8-inch distance. Once their feet go over the tape, they are disqualified, so they get one full minute to walk as far as they can without stepping outside the tape,” she said.
Many residents tell Lori that they outperformed their own expectations of themselves. And while the competition doesn’t push intense training and preparation, tracking progress and seeing improvements in fitness is something she notes as a motivator to keep coming back.
“Sometimes it brings people out who don’t have a habit of coming to fitness – I love that aspect … These events usually bring out everybody and then they kind of have a feeling of comradery – they cheer each other on … And just the fun aspect, people laughing, not being overly concerned about anything in that moment,” she said.
The games also provide a great social event. Residents who have friends in both the independent and assisted living buildings get a chance to catch up and reconnect.
Making the games fun for the residents is the primary focus. They have an opening ceremony with the national anthem, Lori emcees and introduces the residents before each event, (“It’s kind of like a comedy show”) having the residents cheerlead throughout and ending with an informal medal ceremony all are done with just having a fun and enjoyable event in mind.
“What I do here and what I encourage our staff and even our residents to do with fitness is have fun with it. Some people, you know, they feel that fitness is something they have to do, but I really encourage the residents to find something that they like to do. Our staff is so diverse in background and knowledge that we could find something for just about anybody, so we really encourage the fun aspect and I think that is where you keep people. And I think the residents who come the most – some of them tell me that this is their favorite place on campus and this is the most comfortable place on campus because they can come there everyday if they want to,” she said.