Myrtle Beach seniors play balloon volleyball in Eagle Crest Olympics

akelley@thesunnews.comAugust 9, 2012 

— Athletes from across the world are competing in the London Olympics, but residents at Eagle Crest Independent Living Center in Myrtle Beach had their own ruthless competition Thursday.

The Eagle Crest Olympics included an opening ceremony and a packed schedule of events including beach volleyball and bean bag baseball. On Thursday, it was balloon volleyball.

Events coordinator Tiffany Smith said it’s important for the health and fitness of the residents to keep them active. It’s not hard to convince the seniors to participate, Smith said, but the excitement over their version of the Olympics has been bigger than normal.

Lee Grande, one of the residents who played Thursday, thinks that’s because the group likes the challenge.

“We’re competitive, I’ll tell you that,” she said.

She played on the green team, which lost all but one of the four matches to the red team.

The tough competition ended on friendly terms though.

“We’re a big family and we’re in our home away from home,” Grande said. “Even though we’re senior citizens we’re all young at heart and we’re always ready to play and try and win.”

Smith said the Eagle Crest Olympics was meant to keep the seniors motivated.

“More come out when you tell them it’s a big event,” she said. “For a lot of them, it helps with their posture and sitting up. After playing the games they’re able to walk a little more, build a little more muscle in their arms.”

Smith said they have exercise every morning, but it’s different when it feels like the biggest event of the year.

For Grande, the balloon volleyball was fun, but it was the bingo that took the gold in her book. It was a three day bingo extravaganza with residents of Eagle Crest and other area seniors.

Big prizes were awarded each day, including $100 cash on the first two days and a 40 inch TV on the final day.

Grande said she didn’t have to win to have fun, though.

“I don’t care,” she said about taking home the TV. “I just love the game.”

The Eagle Crest Olympics aren’t over yet. Friday, they’ll have equestrian events. On Saturday there will be a walking relay. And next week there are plans for a bean bag baseball championship series.

Contact AMANDA KELLEY at 626-0381.

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