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A Grand Time

A Grand Time
October 16
00:00 2014
(pictured above:  Noelle Brown tosses a football as her mother, Marcella, looks on.)

Grandparents compete alongside their grandkids

Intergenerational teams of grandparents and grandchildren competed in a variety of sports at Miller Park Saturday during the Second Annual Grand Games.

About 15 teams competed. Kids ages 6 to 14 were coupled with either their grandparents or other adult. City Recreation and Parks’ Adult Recreation Program Supervisor Chuck Vestal said the Grand Games grew out of the popular Senior Games, which pits older adults against one another in sports and arts and crafts events.

Vestal

Vestal

“What I see happening, the fun part about it, is instead of the grandchildren hanging around being on the PS3 and X-Boxes, they’re out here with their grandparents, learning something,” said Vestal. “They’ve never heard of bocci before and they’re enjoying that.”

In addition to bocci, a sport where players try to get a ball close to a smaller ball, the teams tested their skills at football tossing, basketball shooting, horse-shoes and corn hole (bean bag tossing).

The rules and set-ups were similar to those used during the Senior Games. For example, basketball goals were lowered for easier shooting. Other rules were tweaked to allow for scoring by pairs instead of individuals.

Overhanging clouds and a field slightly damp from the previous night’s rainfall didn’t deter the competitors.

Dozens of volunteers, including Winston-Salem State University students and Senior Games athletes, kept score and helped those who needed assistance traversing the uneven trail between competition areas.

John and Cheryl Valenzuela with their grandchildren, Ian and Alex Capps.

John and Cheryl Valenzuela with their grandchildren, Ian and Alex Capps.

Cheryl Valenzuela and Alex Capps compete in Bocci.

Cheryl Valenzuela and Alex Capps compete in Bocci.

John and Cheryl Valenzuela paired up with their grandchildren, Ian and Alex Capps, respectively. John is a Senior Games participant and came out to the inaugural Grand Games last year. He said he enjoyed the family time that this year’s event facilitated.

“It’s been good bonding with them,” he said of his grandchildren.

Betty McDowell with her grandson, Solomon Brown.

Betty McDowell with her grandson, Solomon Brown.

Betty McDowell, 81, played with her grandson, Solomon Brown, 6. Though she gave the games her best, she said the real joy was watching her grandchild, who leaped into the air to score several baskets.

“You watch basketball on TV, it’s easy, but doing it yourself, it’s a little more complicated,” she said.

Marcella Brown and her six year-old daughter, Noelle, came to cheer on their friend, Elizabeth Kimberly, who paired up with Brown’s other daughter, nine-year-old Danielle. Noelle, who even brought little pompoms to inspire her sister and Kimberly, ended up pairing up with her mom to compete.

Marcella Brown and Elizabeth Kimberly with Danielle and Noelle Brown.

Marcella Brown and Elizabeth Kimberly with Danielle and Noelle Brown.

“I think it’s good for grandparents and young ones to participate and work together, and for them to try something different and new,” Brown said.

Kimberly, who keeps herself in shape with 5k and 10k runs, said the events in the competition were either new to her or ones she hasn’t played in decades; she found them challenging and fun.

“I haven’t thrown a football in probably 15 or 20 years,” she said with a laugh.

The Grand Games first place ribbon went to Leon Haynes and his grandson, Daniel Duval. Second place went to Senior Games Veteran Bill Gramley and Hayne’s other grandson, Levi Haynes. Third place went to Bill Long and his grandson, Logan Pressley.

During the events, participants also got points for visiting organizations that had information tables set up at the event. They included Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s Safe Kids Northwest Piedmont, which promotes childhood safety; Forsyth County’s Be Healthy School Kids and Western & Southern Life (Insurance).

Fall Senior Games will be held Oct. 20-24. To register or to participate, contact Vestal at 336-727-2325 or chuckv@nullcityofws.org by tomorrow (Friday, Oct. 17).

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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