“When I was your age…” is a phrase that can signal the beginning of a story worth sitting down for.
At 19, Arnie Hallgren played major league baseball and in the spring of 1953 was in Florida for training camp with the Boston Braves.
As teenagers, figure skaters Barry Soper and Louise Lind won the national novice ice dance title, a championship they’d go on to claim six more times and become the first pair to win in all three categories: senior, junior and novice.
Nearly 30 years ago, Cindy Crapper was headed to L.A. for the Summer Games. A javelin thrower, she nonetheless didn’t travel with the Olympic team because the Canadians did not send a full squad.
These and other athletes join an on-going storytelling series titled, Before They Were Grandparents…. They Were Champions.
Sponsored by Bayshore Home Health Vancouver, an in-home seniors care provider, the series launched last year and can be watched online. The “before they were grandparents…” theme opens the door for countless storytellers, including adventurers, singers, lovers, farmers, scholars and more.
The series celebrates individuals and holds them up as positive examples of lifelong fitness, said Bayshore’s Metro Vancouver director Chris Clark. “People who are active have a better quality of life, independence and dignity through later years,” he said.
“We were looking for a way to make people change their views and their outlooks on the senior population and to recognize who they were and what they still are. Just because their packaging changes, doesn’t mean their spirit does.”
In Crapper’s case, she will give a nod to her own sport success before she narrates the stories of several Vancouver Olympians and Paralympians. A parks board employee and the coordinator of Sport For Life who ran in the torch relay after she wrote and rapped about the joy sport brings, Crapper is passionate and said, at 50, “I’m half way to being a senior.” Old age doesn’t start at 65 and not necessarily at 100 either, she said.
Crapper was also part of a 125 Vancouver anniversary storytelling series last year that tapped the knowledge and memories of sporty seniors to emphasize the support they received through their lives from coaches, parents, partners, administrators and organizers. The series also played up the legacy of the Vancouver Games.
An advocate of the long-term athlete development model, Crapper will highlight the importance of physical literacy and the work of the city’s Active for Life Committee.
“Active for Life is like playground to podium,” she said, noting the committee’s goals to increase activity for all Vancouverites, regardless of age, ability or income, by 20 per cent.
“My own personal experience in sport, I learned to jump and throw and skip and hop and dodge and dance,” she said. “I believe that I had fundamental movement skills to be able to move forward in sport.”
Before They Were Grandparents… They Were Champions runs from 1 to 3 p.m. April 26 at the Creekside community centre (1 Athletes Way).