If there’s anyone in New Mexico who has an excuse to sit around, complain and feel sorry for himself, C.E. Chavez of Alto would have to be near the top of the list. After all, this 78-year old avid bowler who has participated in Senior Olympics for 11 years had to have his right leg amputated last year just before he was to compete in the 2002 State Games.
But sitting around is definitely not C.E.’s game!
Born in Chihuahua, his family moved to Texas when he was 5 years old. His first name – Cuauhtemoc – reveals his Aztec heritage. But he said he quickly learned that “people had a hard time wrapping their tongue around Cuauhtemoc.” So he decided that “C.E. would get me anywhere I needed to go.”
C.E. took up bowling about 20 years ago, before he retired from Fort Bliss, where he was a Supervisor in the Transportation Division. After his retirement, he looked to Senior Olympics for continued competition.
Invariably, he qualified for the State Games in all four bowling events – singles, doubles, mixed doubles and team. His partner for mixed doubles was his wife, Martha, who also competes in singles and doubles.
Then, last year, his diabetes forced the unexpected amputation of his right leg just below the knee. Three months later, after the State Games, C.E. was fitted for an artificial leg. Then and there, he determined that he would bowl again in the Senior Olympics.
He went to the bowling alley and began the long, often painful journey. “In the beginning, most balls ended up in the gutter,” he says with a laugh. “But little by little, I started to learn how to control them”
He persevered. Day by day, he improved. In recent years, his average had been in the 150’s. By the time the Lincoln County Senior Olympics took place this year, his average was back up into the 130’s. And climbing.
C.E. qualified again in all four bowling events!
Not surprisingly, he downplays his achievement. “It’s all a matter of having the right mental attitude,” he says. “You can’t give up.”
C.E. Chavez does not give up.
The 25th Annual New Mexico State Senior Olympics will take place August 6 through August 10 in Las Cruces, mainly on the campus of New Mexico State University. Approximately 1300 senior athletes from all parts of the state will compete.
The Opening Ceremony will be held Wednesday, August 6 at 7 pm in the Delamater Activity Center. The public is invited to view the Ceremony and all athletic, musical and talent competitions at no charge. For more information, call 646-3897; or visit www.nmseniorolympics.org.