Trent Ernst, Editor
While Tumbler Ridge was not represented at the recent summer games in London, a group of golfers from here went down to Burnaby to compete in the 2012 BC Senior’s Games, returning home with one gold and two bronzes.
Tumbler Ridge sent a group of eight golfers down to the games, as part of the contingent from the Peace River–Liard Zone.
Just like the Olympics, the Senior games feature an opening ceremony where all the athletes parade in. “There were 3560 participants in the whole of the BC Games,” says Lloyd Hanberg, who brought home the gold in the 75-79 age category.. “You go in there and you say ‘my God, I’ve never seen so many old people in my life.’ It was at Swangard Stadium, and it was packed. They had dancers, and the girl who sang was just fantastic.”
The senior’s games features many events that people might see at the Olympics, from track and field to soccer to slopitch to archery and badminton. However, the games featured events that will probably never appear in the Olympics, including cribbage, darts, pickleball and one-act plays.
In the past, Tumbler Ridge athletes have gone to compete in other events in addition to golf, with some people playing whisk and even fielding members for the zone’s floor hockey team.
The oldest person competing in this year’s game was 92 and one member of the Zone 12 contingent, Freda Murphy from Hudson’s Hope, has attended every single Senior’s games since they were started 25 years ago.
Hanberg has been attending the games for the last five years, and he’s won medals in golf every year, sometimes bronze, sometimes silver, and sometimes, like this year, he gets the gold. This year, there were about 19 other golfers in his age category.
Also bringing home hardware this year were George Lang and Bernie Lehmann, both coming back with bronze medals. This is the third time Lehmann has competed in the Senior’s games, and his third bronze. “I can’t seem to get over that hump,” says Lehmann. “I had been playing well leading up to the games, so I thought I’d do better, but I didn’t play as well as I should have, but that’s golf. You can play good one day and horrible the next.”
Lehmann says the games are a great experience, and he’s hoping to see a larger contingent from Tumbler Ridge head down for the 2013 games in Kamloops. “It’s too bad that more people don’t do it. It’s a chance to get out and play. It’s a great experience. You get to play different courses and meet people from all over the place. It’s like the Olympics but it’s only provincial. You bump into some of the same guys, but last year, I bumped into someone I haven’t seen since I was up in the Yukon. Perhaps people don’t want to do it because they don’t think they’re good enough, and don’t want to look bad.”
But that’s the wrong way to look at it, says Lehmann. “In golf, you play against yourself first. You’re playing against yourself each time you play. It just happens that you play other people. As long as I shoot well, I don’t care if someone does better. I want to see the other guy do well. All the groups I’ve been in have been fun. We joke with each other. We’re competitive, but you want to see the other guys succeed. It’s like any competition you go into. I’m competitive by nature, but I don’t want to see the other guy play like crap.”
Or, perhaps, says Lehmann, maybe people are worried that it would be too expensive, which is isn’t, he says, pointing out the zone raises funds to help offset the costs for athletes. “I probably spent close to $1000 flying down there and staying in a hotel, and I got $500 back from the zone. It’s not that expensive, considering you’re down there for five days.”
Lehmann says the golfers were broken into two groups, one playing a course in North Burnaby, one playing a course in South Burnaby. One of the most amusing moments of the game came when, on the first day, the group at one course had to play in the rain, while at the other course there was no rain. “The next day, we were joking that it would rain on the other guys again.”