A year ago, a heat wave forced the East County Intergenerational Games to shut down early. On Thursday, the games again faced adversity.
La Mesa recreation supervisor Michele Greenberg-McClung greeted about 170 youngsters and over-50 volunteers at La Mesa Middle School with the news of “Plan B today.”
“Our motto [will be] ‘It is what it is, and you’re going to have fun,” she said after noting a forecast of rain amid foreboding dark skies. “We don’t want you to get wet, slip and slide, and [do] mud wrestling.”
Only a few sprinkles fell, but organizers weren’t taking chances. They invented games and exercises that could be done in the covered hallways or the multipurpose room, including beanbag tosses and Frisbee sharpshooting.
A treat for the youngsters—fewer this year but energetic as always—was the appearance of two-time Olympian Kara Patterson, 26, of Chula Vista, who holds the American record in the javelin (218 feet, 8 inches in 2010).
The 6-footer showed off a green javelin Thursday while wearing a knee brace and using crutches—having undergone ACL surgery two weeks ago. She injured herself at the Olympic Trials in June, but still competed at the London Games. A back injury in 2007 was also a part of her story—a teachable moment about perseverance.
That same year, Marine Lance Cpl. Brandon Pelletier suffered a crushed right elbow in Iraq, but has become a star Paralympic sprinter with a 400-meter best of 49.7 seconds. The retired Marine, 25, also shared his story with the audience.
Prime sponsors of the 7th annual Intergenerational Games were the county’s Health & Human Services Agency and Aging and Independence Services, and SPRITES of East County.
Helping out were La Mesa City Council members Dave Allan and Ruth Sterling, as well as La Mesa-Spring Valley school board member Bob Duff. Members of the La Mesa Adult Enrichment Center also took part in the event designed to bridge the gap between generations and provide a model for young-and-old teamwork.