A day after the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, ElderSparks staged its own Olympiad in West Orange, NJ. The same women we celebrated July 4th with competed in both individual and team sports while representing their respective residential wings. To accommodate physical handicaps, officials required that competitors not only remain seated at all times, but also test positive for drugs.

Preliminary rounds included three tests of personal athleticism: (1) Olympic ring toss (not unlike the game of horseshoes); (2) Basketball (points were scored when a 10” beach ball landed in a basket four feet away on one bounce); and (3) Balloon Fling (gently casting a balloon directly into a basket only a few inches wider).

Team sports dominated the second half of the program. The 10 meter relay race called for passing a paper-plate baton from one teammate to another without losing the balloon that was balanced on top. Some members wanted to keep the baton when it came to them; others kept touching the balloon with their hands — a rule book no-no — so it wouldn’t fall off. Needless to say, the event will be excluded from future Olympics.

The afternoon’s highlight was a version of field hockey played with pool noodles and the ubiquitous balloon.

Staff and residents all took part in a spirited, high-energy game that went on for half an hour. It ended with one team winning 7-5 after fighting off a furious rally. Although the activity director cheated throughout by leaving her chair whenever she fought for the ball, her team lost anyway. The opposing goalkeeper was just too much, blocking countless shots in the final minutes to preserve the victory. In a few months, she’ll be celebrating her 101st birthday.

Priceless, isn’t it?