UPPER DARBY >> The medals and honors may have been handed already at the conclusion of the 2018 Delaware County Senior Games in late June, but a champions luncheon was had for almost 500 of the 700 participant on Thursday afternoon.
The athletes enjoyed a winners circle lunch at the Drexelbrook Catering and Special Event Center in Drexel Hill as they were celebrated for their accomplishments in dozens of competitive games from track and field to Wii bowling that was hosted at 13 venues throughout the county for the two weeks of games.
At 102, Sye Brandman of Philadelphia was this year’s oldest participant. Brandman won a gold medal in his age division for mens singles bowling. Springfield resident William Myers was the oldest county resident to participate at the age of 98. He earned a gold medal for doubles bowling with his partner Edwin Gottwig.
Mary DePaolo-Roach and June Robbins were the oldest women to participate, at 91 years old. Robbins earned two gold and two silver medals in the four events she took part in, and DePaolo-Roach earned gold medals for singles bowling and double bowling, the latter with her partner Theresa Murphy.
When asked about how she earned her medals in horseshoes, miniature golf, shuffleboard and Wii bowling, Robbins had a jokingly direct answer:
“I earned them because I’m 91,” she said with a laugh.
Robbins has been involved with the games for a number of years now, and she said she enjoys that it’s a fun time. She noted the encouragement she sees among the athletes.
“I was playing badly at shuffleboard, I mean I was terrible. (Everyone) was applauding all of the winners, and I asked them to cheer me on as they did the winners,” said Robbins. They did and, well, “I still did pretty bad.”
Robbins won the gold, and became the only laureate, in the event’s over-90 age division for women.
Perhaps one of the biggest winners of the games was Esteban “Steve” Abarintos, who earned 11 medals, eight of them in the track and field events. His speed in a number of the distance races for running and walking weren’t without controversy, he noted.
“They told me I was walking too fast,” joked the multiple-winner in the 75-79 age division races.
Delaware County Council Chairman John McBlain congratulated all of the athletes in attendance of the games.
“It’s certainly one of the fun things we do on an annual basis in Delaware County, and it gives us the opportunity to engage and interact with many of our seniors. You are the people who have built Delaware County over these last 50 to 75 to 102 years, and we very much appreciate everything you have done for our county and everything that you are doing, and everything that you will do,” said McBlain. “We look forward to seeing everybody participate next year and we hope, as always, that the event just gets bigger and better.”
The games wrapped up their 28th games this year. County council sponsored the games along with the county Department of Parks and Recreation, Destination Delco and the County of Delaware Services for the Aging, or COSA.