At 5 A.M. on Wednesday, June 19, an intrepid band of athletes from Chesterton loaded themselves, and their wheelchairs, on a bus and headed south.
The eager competitors were excited to represent Addison Pointe Health & Rehabilitation Center at the TLC 2019 Senior Summer Rehab Games, held this year at Wesleyan University in Marion, Indiana.
“I felt good," said Berthel ‘Bert’ McCombs, Addison Pointe resident and one of the participants. "I did a little bit of everything."
McCombs competed in bowling, volleyball, cornhole, Wii soccer, and the wheelchair 50-yard dash. She performed particularly well in the Wii soccer tournament, making it into the second round.
"I liked it, even if I didn't win any of the events,” McCombs said. “It was good to get out of the house and do something."
The roadtrip to Marion equally excited McCombs’ volleyball teammate Esther VanderWoude.
“It's always good to try a new adventure in your life," she said, grateful for the care Addison Pointe staff put into making it happen.
"The people that came with us from our facility were wonderful,” VanderWoude said. “They were patient and they did all they possibly could to accommodate us."
A third teammate, Addison Pointe resident John Hawkins, agreed.
"They were all nice, including our coach," he said.
For Hawkins, the games represented an opportunity to recapture some of his former competitive glory, especially the 50-yard dash.
"I did all this years ago,” he said. “I've still got my stuff."
Addison Pointe employee Tracey Babcock acted as the team’s “coach.” She recruited interested residents, helped them sign up for events, and drove with them to the games.
"It was exciting, because it was something fun and new for them,” Babcock said. “I think they all really enjoyed it."
TLC 2019 Senior Summer Rehab Games organizers and volunteers, the venue, and especially the food they served impressed the participating athletes.
"There was a lot of work that went into setting up the games,” VanderWoude said. "It was much more elaborate and much nicer than I expected it to be."
All three agreed they would absolutely participate again, given the opportunity, and looked forward to encouraging their neighbors to come with them next time.
"When we can participate in an event, regardless of our capabilities, we shouldn’t be hesitant,” VanderWoude said. “Just because we aren't top-notch physical people any longer, that doesn't mean that we aren't capable of doing something good."
More information about Addison Pointe Health & Rehabilitation Center activities, facilities and services is available at www.addisonpointe.com. To see a video of the day’s events, visit their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/AddisonPointeHealthCare.