Senior Olympics in Helena, Montana
June 16-18, 2016
These sounds echo through the quiet west side neighborhood in Helena as the match is about to get serious. The group is lovely and welcoming. And, they take their pickle ball very seriously.
Peggy (Margaret) Collins quickly pauses in her match to explain the photographer’s presence but her focus returns directly to the game. The doubles teams on each side of the net complement each other on great shots and collectively sigh at a misplaced ball.
Pickle ball is Peggy’s passion. A brief observation of the groups interactions reveal that Peggy is one of the leaders.
Peggy Collins, age 70, started her pickle ball career about four years ago when she saw an ad in the Helena Independent Record welcoming anyone who wanted to learn to play. The group continues to welcome everyone on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in Barney Park at 1950 Cleveland Street, Helena from about 8:30 am to 11:30 am. They have racquets to lend and tips to help at any level. Peggy says it’s a simple game and people catch on quickly. After having a knee replacement surgery and knee issues, Peggy finds pickle ball an accommodating sport that also presents an appealing athletic challenge.
Pickle ball is just the beginning for Peggy. She is also a swimmer and board member of the Montana Senior Olympics. Peggy got involved with Senior Olympics via her swimming friends and since that time she has become a strong Helena Senior Olympics representative. Helena is the location of the Summer 2016 Montana Senior Olympics Games.
Senior Olympics will take place city-wide in Helena from June 16 to 18, 2016. Sports include basketball, bowling, cycling, golf, horseshoes, race walk, pickle ball, road racing, racquetball, swimming, table tennis, tennis and track and field. Anyone age 50+ is invited to register by May 23 for the cost of $20 or from May 23 to June 1 for the cost of $30. All registration can be found online at montanaseniorolympics.org/summer.html. Registration does need to be mailed in.
Peggy explains that this year’s Senior Olympics will attract registrants from across the United States and Canada. Anyone who finishes in the top three of his/her sport will be welcomed at the National Senior Olympics. These Games take place in Birmingham, AL from June 2 to 15, 2017.
As for Peggy, she says no, she won’t be in Birmingham, but she’ll be in Helena this June and can’t wait to welcome everyone to Helena for this year’s Montana Senior Olympic Games.