Olympics offer fun moments for students, retirees

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GREENFIELD, Ind. (AP) - What happens if during the two weeks of the Winter Olympics you put two teams of senior citizens in a room with a six-inch ball and then hand everyone a broom?

The first thing that comes to mind is that one could simply get a severe thrashing from someone with years of broom-handling experience.

Alternatively, a broomball game might break out, and if you’re playing right wing of a geriatric two-on-one breakaway to the net, there’s the ripe possibility of both happening simultaneously.

Fortunately, it was only broomball earlier this week as Greenfield’s Springhurst Health Campus and others in Hancock County celebrate the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.

While the American team competing in Sochi, Russia, 5,700 miles away - the U.S. team deadlocked the medal count Friday with Norway at 13 apiece - Hancock County residents from 8 to 88 joined in Olympic-style activities of their own.

Schools used the occasion to learn about unusual sports and geography. And at Springhurst, where activity directors are always looking for ways to engage residents in physical activities, serious bragging rights - if not shiny medals - were at stake.

One day this week, Springhurst resident Elizabeth Creek was racking up points in the snowball toss - a variation of Skee ball with a fleece snowball, Sochi-style.

Creek ultimately tallied 275 points to take home the gold, narrowly edging Wilma Kracht, a former baseball and basketball player with a wicked overhand southpaw delivery.

“She’s small but mighty,” Kracht told the Daily Reporter (http://bit.ly/1fdw5wB ), referring to her opponent after the competition.

Though gracious in victory, Creek played coy when she was asked about her secret to success.

“I don’t think I have one,” she laughed.

After lighting a ceremonial cauldron during opening ceremonies this week, Springhurst residents embarked on a weeklong schedule of games that included broomball, an Olympic ring toss and bobsledding.

Not actual bobsledding, as Hancock County geography lacks the requisite vertical drop, but residents constructed their own “bobsleighs” out of paper towel tubes and other readily available items and raced them down a Hot Wheels track.

“We’re having a lot of fun,” said Springhurst life enrichment director Jody Willis, who added that the broomball game brought curious staff and residents out of their rooms to find out what all the rabble-rousing was about.

And while one might argue the Springhurst games do not claim the same spotlight as those at the shores of the Black Sea, “you can drink the water here,” Willis said wryly.

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