Smiles big on final day at Olympic Peninsula Senior Games

PORT ANGELES — Smiles all around seemed to be the highlight of the final day of the seventh annual 2011 Olympic Peninsula Senior Games on Sunday.

“Based on the feedback of athletes at the different venues and the athletes who came into the Senior Games headquarters, it was another successful Senior Games,” Games executive director D Bellamente, who spent the weekend smiling herself, said.

“I think if we had the 2012 registration forms out, we would have had people signing up.

“There were a lot of smiles and a lot of compliments about the venues and a lot of compliments about the commissioners [running the different sports].”

Bellamente, who has spearheaded all seven Senior Games, also complimented the work of the commissioners, who directed 18 different sports — everything from horseshoes to recreational softball, tennis, volleyball, basketball, Pickleball, racquetball, bowling, indoor rowing and ending with track and field Sunday.

“The commissioners put in so much work before the Games begin, that when the athletes get here everything goes on without a hitch,” Bellamente said.

The longtime director calls it her magic pixie dust theory.

“Anything we may worry about beforehand, it just all falls into place during the weekend — the commissioners feel it, the volunteers feel it and the athletes feel it.”

Peter Pan doesn’t have anything over the Senior Games.

Will there be a Senior Games in 2012? The jury convenes on that issue starting Oct. 4.

That’s when the commissioners and steering committee are debriefed on the 2011 Games.

“That’s when we go over the evaluations from the athletes and volunteers and talk about the highs of the Senior Games and where we could do better,” Bellamente said.

“We get feedback from everybody and look at it from all the different angles.”

And from that it will be decided if there will be an eighth Olympic Peninsula Senior Games in 2012.

Officials wait until early October to give themselves time to recover from the work of putting the Games on.

“The work is very, very hard,” Bellamente said.

What it all comes down to is this: If the passion is still there, the Games will continue.

“The best thing about the Games is the passion,” Bellamente said.

“All the commissioners and the volunteers love what they’re doing,” Bellamente said.

“You need to have passion to do this work.

“As long as the passion is there, we will continue.”

By the attitude everyone had at the end of the long weekend Sunday evening, the money is on for an eighth annual Games.

“We have so many good heads around the table that comes up with so many new ideas, it just makes it fun,” Bellamente said.

“You know how hard it is to walk away from fun.”

It didn’t seem to hurt that the weather was nearly perfect all weekend for the event.

It was mostly sunny and cool all three days.

“We were blessed this weekend with nice weather,” Bellamente said.

“We had someone who drove here from Olympia [on Sunday] to compete in pole vault because of the weather.

“He said, ‘You don’t always have this nice of weather here, so I had to come up to compete.’

“He vaulted 11-6.”

Even with the late pole vault entry, the Senior Games still came up a little short of last year’s record registration of 525.

“As of right now, we have 518,” Bellamente said on Sunday afternoon.

But the numbers could increase after all the registration is accounted for and entered into the system.

At any rate, this will go down as one of the most successful Olympic Peninsula Senior Games, which is held throughout the Port Angeles area.

And in addition, Saturday night’s celebration dinner and dance at the Park View Villas was a big success, according to Bellamente.

There were 75 people in attendance.

“There was good music and good food,” Bellamente said.

Music was by the Discovery Bay band Final Approach, a band made up of retired pilots.

Saturday results of the Senior Games was listed in Scoreboard on Page B2 in Sunday’s Peninsula Daily News.

Sunday’s results, especially with all the track and field competition, won’t be available for a couple of days because of the amount of time it takes to enter it on the Game’s web site.

Results will be posted when they’re ready at olympicpeninsulaseniorgames.com and in Scoreboard on Page B2.

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