Young at Heart

Posted by martin.parnell |

Florence Storch started throwing the javelin 16 years ago and has won a number of provincial and national titles in the sport. That’s pretty impressive. But, what’s really outstanding is the fact that Florence was 85 when she started and at 101 she has just competed in the Canada 55-Plus Games, in Strathcona County, east of Edmonton.

Florence grew up on a farm and worked as a teacher in a rural schoolhouse, where she often played sports with her students. She “accidentally got into this javelin thing” while helping organize the seniors games, when the event was held in her home town. She noticed no one had signed up for javelin, so she wrote her name down.

I can’t hold a candle to Florence but I came to a number sports later in life. I started playing hockey at 22, running at 47, triathlon at 48, ultra-running at 52, netball at 55 and lacrosse at 56. Now with my 10th and final Quest “Canada Quest for Kids” approaching it’s time, at the age of 58, to tackle a new sport: Quidditch.

On September 22nd I will be participating in a Guinness World Record of the biggest exhibition game of Quidditch at the University of Calgary. After its appearance in the JK Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series, the non-flying version of the sport was created in 2005 at Middlebury College in Vermont. It has grown into its own separate and distinct sport, after sevenpublications of rulebooks.

The sport may have its roots in the United States, but has grown, internationally, arriving in Canada through Carleton and McGill Universities, in 2009. Since then teams popped up in Australia and soon spread across Europe, arriving in Italy, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands the UK and France and to the Americas, Mexico, Argentina and Brazil.

I’ve read all the books, watched the movies and I’m still trying understand the game. Here is a brief explanation: “Quidditch consists of two teams of seven players each mounted on broomsticks played on a hockey rink-sized pitch. The pitch is rectangular with three hoops of varying heights at either end.

The ultimate goal is to have more points than the other team by the time the snitch, a tennis ball inside a long sock hanging from the shorts of an impartial official dressed in yellow, is caught.”

Fortunately the University of Calgary are having a training day and I’m sure after some practice it will all become clear.

If this sounds like fun then you too can be part of this incredible event. Just go to  and register. Anyone can take part whether you’re in school or Florence’s age. Remember, everyone has the right to play.

And, just in case you’re wondering, Florence won the Silver medal, edged out of the Gold medal place by Doreen Erskine, from Mouse Jaw, a mere youngster of 87!

Next steps: What new challenge are you going to take on before the end of the year? Why is it important to you and what do you hope to learn from it?

Quote of the Week

"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader."

John Quincy Adams

The Canada Quest for Kids Cake. Sports and games for all tastes.



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