The Tampa Bay Active Life Games, formerly called the Tampa Bay Senior Games, are set to begin on Friday, October 5, 2018. The event is about community as much as it’s about competition. Participants want to win, which enables them to qualify for the Florida State Games. But, they also want to cheer each other on, enjoy the camaraderie, and show their support for fellow contestants.
This is the 38th year that Hillsborough County’s Friends of the County Parks has supported the event. It’s also made possible by Hillsborough County, City of Tampa, and the City of Temple Terrace. According to Dana McDonald, senior special events coordinator with Parks and Recreation, the purpose of the games is to help people stay active at all stages of their lives. The Active Life Games are open to people 50 years of age and older.
“Being physically and socially active is huge,” McDonald said. “Loneliness is an epidemic, and at the Tampa Bay Active Life Games, we support each other.”
Tampa Bay Life Games Events and Schedules
Opening Day starts at 8:00 a.m. on October 5 at Barksdale Active Adult Center with a one-mile walk/run. After that, there is swimming and doubles tennis for men and women. The second week of competition features shuffleboard, track and field, table tennis, golf, horseshoes, lawn bowling, and pickleball. Week three will showcase cycling, bunco, bag toss, dominoes, bowling, darts, and billiards. The event’s closing ceremonies are celebrated with an awards luncheon on Friday, October 19. All events take place in Tampa, Temple Terrace, and other locations around Hillsborough County.
According to McDonald, most of the participants have been doing this for years. Athletes return every year and it can be fun for everyone to see some familiar faces. “We keep it enjoyable,” she said. “We offer competition at all levels, so anyone can join.”
Some of the athletes are serious devotees to their sports and events. Others don’t play any other time except for the Tampa Bay Active Life Games.
“People are always cheering you on when you participate in the games,” McDonald said. “It gives all of us a good feeling, whether we’re competing to spectating.”
Registration began in July and closed on September 19. The event is full, with more than 350 people registered for the two weeks of competitions.
Qualifying for the Florida Senior Games
The Tampa Bay Active Life Games serve as a qualifier for the Florida Senior Games, an event hosted by the Florida Sports Foundation. They’ve been held since 1974 and the event has grown in its competition, fellowship, and commitment to fitness. The 50+ crowd is Florida’s fastest growing age group, and there’s a demand for things like this to keep people active and willing to participate in group activities that are fun and rewarding. The U.S. Census Bureau believes that more than 32 percent of the state’s population will be 60 or older by 2030.
The 2018 Florida Senior Games will be held in Clearwater from December 1-9. Every two years there’s a national event sponsored by the National Senior Games Association. In 2019, it will be in Albuquerque, New Mexico.