By Rob Potter
KIAMESHA LAKE September 13, 2002 The familiar sound of bowling pins scattering after being hit by a bowling ball could be heard throughout the building Wednesday afternoon at Kiamesha Lanes.
While leagues are starting at Kiamesha Lanes and other bowling establishments around the area, these were not league bowlers rolling the strikes or staring down difficult 7-10 splits.
Rather, a group of more experienced bowlers were enjoying some friendly competition on the lanes.
A total of 18 area senior citizens took to the lanes as part of the 11th Annual Sullivan County Senior Games. Created in 1992 by Irving Goldberg and Arthur Raymond, both of whom are now deceased, the games give area men and women who are at least 55 years of age a chance to display their athletic talents.
The games began on Monday and concluded yesterday with a luncheon and awards ceremony. Gold, silver and bronze medals were scheduled to be handed out to the winners at that ceremony.
This years Senior Games included events such as boccie, horseshoes, ping-pong, golf putting and a one-mile walk. Also included were the popular card games cribbage and pinochle.
The games are sponsored by approximately 40 county businesses and coordinated by a senior citizen committee and the Village of Monticello Recreation Department.
We have had well over 1,000 participants over the years, said Betsy Conaty, who is the Recreation Department Director. Its good to see all of these senior athletes competing each year. Some are very competitive, theyre right there looking over my shoulder while Im posting the event results. But we stress a friendly competition.
Audrey Franz of Monticello has been competing in the games for six years. Franz noted that after she got skunked in the cribbage event earlier this week, her competitors gave her a gift a skunk Beanie Baby.
Its exercise and a little sociability, she said of the senior games. This is a nice group of people.
And a quick look at the scores confirmed that many of these seniors are no strangers to bowling alleys.
Leah Karasik of Monticello proudly noted that at the age of 83 she still bowls each week in a league at Kiamesha Lanes.
I started bowling in 1959, Karasik said. I love it.
Its nice that it started, Jack Davidson, a 75-year-old Wolf Lake resident, said of the senior games.
The fact that many of the seniors participating this year have also done so in past years underscores Conatys point about friendly competition.
Its good to see everybody again, said Jim Coffey of Ferndale, who will soon embark on a trip around the nation and into Canada with his wife, Karen, to participate in wheelchair basketball and wheelchair bowling tournaments.
Were friendly until the bell goes off, he added with a laugh.
Were all friends again afterwards, a smiling Karen Coffey said.