“Without the Senior Olympics, I might not even be here.”
That is how important Senior Olympics is to 77-year-old Lynn Roberts of Quemado, New Mexico. “It’s a wonderful thing because it does keep you younger,” she explained. “It keeps you going. I think it prolongs your life. It gives you interests outside of your home, especially when you’ve lost someone, or in my case, three someones.”
Roberts is referring to the loss of her eldest son, her husband, and most recently, in October, her youngest son. It was this youngest son who gave Roberts her trademark, a green felt hat with a feather in the top.
“When he was 10 years old, he won the hat when he ‘Robin Hooded.’ He shot a second arrow into his first arrow. I glommed on to that for good luck.”
Roberts said she uses a 50-year-old bare bow (without sights) to shoot just like Robin Hood, as well. She has won gold medals at all of her New Mexico competitions and silver at several National Senior Games, including the 2001 Games in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
“The lady who won gold, and has every year, taught archery at the University of Louisiana. But I’m the only one with a bare bow.”
That may change. Roberts has been practicing with a sighted bow, but said, “I can’t hit the darn target. It’s a very big challenge. I’m not going to use it at State, but I may try it for Nationals.”
“I think people should get into it for their health, both mental and physical. Anything to keep you from being a couch potato.”
Besides the physical activity, Roberts enjoys the camaraderie of the Games, seeing people from year to year and making new friends with common interests. One friend from past games who will be particularly missed this year is John Pino of Laguna Pueblo. John passed away in July.
“The first time I met him was at State in ’91. He was 91 then. He was telling me about the first bow he had that his grandfather had made him when he was five years old,” Roberts remembered. “I said his grandfather would be ashamed of him for using a compound bow. His eyes flashed, and he said, ‘Yes, he probably would, and you are sassy.’ From them on he called me ‘Sassy.’”
This year Roberts is registered for airgun pistol benchrest, airgun rifle benchrest, airgun rifle standing, horseshoes singles, and shuffleboard singles and hopes the times for the competitions don’t conflict so she can do it all.
Roberts echos the sentiment of many Senior Olympians when she said she intends to compete “until I can’t do it any longer.” We wish her good luck.