Huntsman World Senior Games Active Life

#337 – It Really Is For Everyone

May 28, 2021 Kyle M Case & Lil Barron Episode 337
Huntsman World Senior Games Active Life
#337 – It Really Is For Everyone
Show Notes Transcript

Today we invite back to the show Suzanne Leonelli, athlete of the Huntsman World Senior Games. She competed in her very first Games in 2019 with a silver medal showing in racquetball. Then, like the rest of the world (and the Games) she took a timeout for 2020. But she’s back for 2021 and she’s planning to add a new sport. 

Kyle and Lil also give a quick updated on how registrations for the Games are going. Spoiler alert: We’re on track for a record year. Check out this show. It’s a fun one.

Kyle Case  0:08  
Hello, and welcome to the husband world Senior Games active life. My name is Kyle Case and I'll be your host on this amazing journey as we attempt to help you get the most out of your life. Joining me in our studio today is my co pilot lil Baron. Hey, Kyle. How are you today?  I hope you're doing well as I am. So we passed a milestone here at the Hudson royal Senior Games. We did. We did everything I missed it every day is like a milestone. In registration. Yes, I'm kind of trying to analyze on where we're going. And you know, if we need to make some adjustments from a marketing standpoint, or reaching out to our athletes everyday is a milestone. But we passed a pretty significant one. We on Monday, we passed over 6000 registered. Wow. And last year. Yeah, so well ahead of Wow. I mean, last year is not Yeah, comparison. 2019. But I knew what you meant. Yes. Yeah. 19 2019 was the last time we were able to have an event. But yeah, we're not only past 6000, we have blown by it. So right now today, this morning, just as I checked the SATs this morning, we are at 6487, almost 6500 registered athletes. And again, like you said, That's exciting because comparing, because what a 64. Right? athletes mean to anybody, right? It doesn't mean anything to anybody. But comparing it but again, in context, comparing it to 2019. We're about 700. ahead. Wow, we were the last time we were able to have the games at this time from a registration standpoint. So so we're doing great, we're doing good, right. And it just, it just feels like people are excited. And they're looking forward to a tremendous year. And they're making their plans and they're, you know, booking their hotel rooms, which incidentally get on that right on that. But planning their travel, getting with their team is getting with their doubles, you know, partners, all that kind of stuff. All that is happening over 700 ahead of where we work. Now also just context 2019 was our record year. Yes. So if if these trends continue, then there's every indication that we're you know, we're going to continue down this this track, we should have a record year, as far as participation goes. And it should be awesome. And it's not only in one sport. That's what's exciting about it. Like it's kind of spread out across the board. And, you know, of course, who knows what's going to happen with COVID-19. None of us know, but right now it's looking really, really good. And we're planning on moving Full speed ahead. Yeah.

But like I said, we have increases across the board, we have more softball teams registered than we have ever had. Not only on our record year, but then we have ever had, we have over 400 softball teams registered, there'll be some adjusting as we get closer, but over 400 we're, you know, attempting as much as we can to get teams off the waitlist. We've kind of we've closed registration for new teams, but we are putting teams on a waitlist. And as as we're figuring out how the brackets come together and field usage and all that kind of stuff, which is a whole science and of itself. We're hoping to get teams off the waiting list. We have more table tennis players registered Wow, this point that we did a couple of years ago by a long ways. A couple of years ago, at this point, we had about 40 or so people registered, we're almost to 100. Right? Wow, this Cycling is doing really well more than we had in 2019 more track and field athletes registered than we did in 2019. We have shattered, shattered our pickleball participation record with well over 1000 pickleball players registered and the list goes on. Yeah, in fact, of the 35 different sports that we have to offer, we have increases in the vast majority, not in every single one of them. But in the vast majority we have registration increases where we were, you know, a couple of years ago at this point. So again, if this momentum keeps going forward, we're going to have a great year. If you're interested in participating in the husband world Senior Games, you'll want to visit Senior Games dotnet where you'll find the rules and the schedules and most importantly, you'll find out how to register Yes, games here in in October, the games run from October 4 through the 17th. And again, it's just everything is looking like it's just going to be a great year from a competition standpoint. You know, the city is excited the the residents, the venues. everything that we're doing just feels Yeah, just just a high level of excitement. People are excited about it. So we're really looking forward to it. I know I was so excited and speaking of exciting excited Our guest today yeah is Huntsman world Senior Games athlete, Suzanne Lee analysis and was a first time athlete in 2019. Yes, where she played in racquetball and then like the rest of the world, I had to take a break through the timeout of 2020. But she's excited to compete again in 2021. In a new sport, this time, maybe even a couple of new sports will we'll talk into that. Talk about that, get into that just a minute. Suzanne is the CEO of route for kids, which is a nonprofit organization that focuses on high quality childcare, early headstart, early intervention, parents as teachers, kindred music, which I'm not familiar with, but maybe I'll learn a bit more about that as well. But we're excited to have Suzanne on the show.

Suzanne Leonelli  5:43  
Thank you. And I have to say, Kyle, I love that you said I played in. I compete, it was much better than

Kyle Case  6:00  
let's just start with it. Let's talk about that. So last time, I always want to say last year, I know, I'm just kind of a blur. Yeah, there's gonna have to be this blip for us. We're certainly not everybody has to do that, you know, kids that went to school have to, you know, asterisk, right. That's the year I didn't graduate more normally. Right. So anyway, we're all doing that. And I hate it. Yeah. And I sum up all the time and say last year, but in 2019, that was your first year competing?

Suzanne Leonelli  6:30  
Yeah, I waited 50 years for that day. And I was so excited. And I always joke because I think people have a really hard time turning 50. But for me when I turned 50, it's like, I'm old enough to play video games. It was so awesome. So exciting.

Kyle Case  6:47  
It is exciting. And I'm glad that you felt that way. because like you said, we talk to people all the time that turned out that milestone, it's a it's a life event. It's coming up for me as well. I'll admit, like I started working for the games. I was 34 years old. And I was so just amazed and impressed and inspired. And I just kept, you know, thinking to myself, man, I this is amazing. This is something I definitely I'm going to be a part of no matter what happens. I'm going to be a part of it. And I still feel that way. I still feel that way. But getting as close as I am. It's a little bit harder to maintain that level of like, Oh, I can't wait to turn 50 even though I still have that. So I'm glad that you are that many of our athletes feel that way. But a few of our athletes kind of struggle with that milestone. It's a big one. Yeah. We like to think we would like to think that our existence helps people transition more simply because you can. You don't have to stop. You don't have to let it go. You don't have to give up. None of that is a requirement. You can continue to play the sports that you love. Do the hobbies that you love hike. If that's what you love, get into art start something new. Yeah, right starts to learn mochi, bah. or whatever or whatever it is. We really feel excited and honored and privileged to be a part of that transition. such an important transition. But you turned 50 years old. And of course you were introduced to the games through your good friend lil Bay. So you decided you would play racquetball?

Suzanne Leonelli  8:22  
I did you know, I played racquetball when I was in high school, and then I played in college. And then I played competitive after that, and love the game. Yeah, love the game. And so when Lille started working here, I knew I had no option, but I wanted to participate anyway, because I do think there's something about turning 50 and the husband world Senior Games, and to me, it's like a rite of passage. Whether you're good bad, ugly, fat, you know, it doesn't matter. There's there's a space for everybody. And, and to me, it's not just about the competition. It's about the friendship worldwide friendships, which I think is so cool. I got to meet people from all over the world, and it opened up opportunities that would not have existed if I had been participating. Yeah, Yeah, I did. I chose racquetball because it was familiar. And there wasn't a Miller or would you say you had 1000? Yeah, Pickleball

Kyle Case  9:20  
is a great sport. And let's, let's just get it out there. It's very competitive, very competitive, but it's not as big as pickleball and sports, Evan flow and, you know, a variety of our sports have, you know, different places within the hierarchy of how many participants every sport is super important that we get the best team that we can to run that sport and, you know, put out a world class event. But yeah, it's it's not quite the same as as a pickleball, or a volleyball or a softball or something like that, but still competitive.

Suzanne Leonelli  9:50  
Yeah. And, you know, I kind of think it's one of those sports, it's kind of dying out as pickleball rises. I think there's less of those racquetball, or racquet sports that are kind of in the forefront. But what I thought was cool is when I moved here five years ago, I didn't know anybody to play racquetball with. And so I just kind of stepped out of the game. And then when the games came, and I decided to play, it opened up that that opportunity for me to meet other people locally, who I could continue to play with after the games ended. So that was way cool, because I didn't know that existed prior to be in the game. It's you're trying to navigate your way into this new community. And not only, you know, not only just St. George, but then a smaller community of racquetball. And it just was that natural introduction to other people playing so that was super awesome, too, I

Kyle Case  10:37  
thought. And so through the games, you have been able to continue to play and meet new people. And now you have partners and people that you play with. Absolutely,

Suzanne Leonelli  10:45  
I partner double who's gonna, and I want you guys to notice I know I have fingernails anymore, because I took them all off. But I do have a doubles partner this year. Nice. Yeah, good. It's not me. I can't go public with it. Yeah, cuz he doesn't know. Singles As well as, as well as mixed doubles.

Kyle Case  11:12  
Mm hmm. So that'll, that'll add up all other elements. Yeah, you'll be introduced to more people just app by way. Yeah, petition and things like that, which I mean, you really nailed it. And, you know, we talked about it all the time. So I won't belabor it. But it's worth mentioning. The the competition element is, is crucial. And that's the reason that people sign up and register. But that social element, right is so important. And having gone through 2020 with so few legitimate real opportunities for social interaction, I think there's a hunger for that. And I hope that we always remember and take advantage of the opportunities that we have to connect and interact and really connect. That's

Lil Barron  11:54  
one thing I noticed when she was playing, so we would go there, watch her play. But then everybody would stay and watch each other and really great community. Yeah, so not only the competition, but they're cheering everyone else on,

Kyle Case  12:08  
I love that. That's what the Senior Games brings. And we see that across the board, regardless of sport, there are so many people who, you know, kind of like your shoes and your experiences unique to you. But But we see similar similar stories all the time that people played as a youth or, you know, maybe they played in high school, or they were interested in it. And then for whatever reason, you step away from the sport for a lot of good reasons family work, you know, whatever it is life, life happens, right? And then here's this opportunity to step back into it right, and reconnect. And, you know, we get a chance to see that and to be a part of that with so many people.

Suzanne Leonelli  12:45  
And like lil said, it's not always gracefully that you know, you have those, those other competitors supporting and cheering you on. Yeah, yeah. Well, let me just say she looked good. Yeah, that's a lot. Like, I got to buy some new clothes. It's very important.

Kyle Case  13:09  
So So you had this amazing, wonderful racquetball experience that has continued even? It's worth noting that we have tapped into you to help us out with our social gasps Oh, yeah. new director of our social golf event. Talk about where you're at with that, like,

Suzanne Leonelli  13:28  
Well, I think that's the cool thing too, about the games is that if you can't compete, there's other ways that you can be involved. You can you know, volunteer, you can work with the social events. You can be an ambassador. So there's a lot of opportunities to get involved. And yeah, Lil coerce me. It wasn't hard. It's voluntold. But no, it wasn't hard. I'm really excited. I think it's gonna be fun. I love golf. We played what, three years ago in the social golf before I was 50. Yeah, so I got a little taste of it. And I was really super fun. So I'm looking forward to that. I have my my committee all set up and we are getting ready to kind of go full force with it. Because it's gonna be tomorrow when the game right?

Kyle Case  14:19  
Yeah, definitely. Yeah, that way. No, so funny, because my whole world just revolves around October. Yeah, yeah. Anytime I write down a date, I almost always just default to October. Like it doesn't matter. Like I look at the calendar, and I know it's the 14th but I just write down October 14. Okay, so it does feel like tomorrow to to us here at the games. It's gonna be here tomorrow. Of course, we do have a little bit of time for people who are outside of the circle. Yes, but but you know, not too much time. It's time. Now's the time to get ready for a

Suzanne Leonelli  14:49  
while. And one of the things that I learned too, is that there's the Huntsman world Senior Games, but I didn't realize there were all these other games and other states. Yeah. And so we kind of had this hunger, this desire to kind To compete and play and so we signed up for the mesquite senior game, and we did the golf and that we did the skills and the golf and it was fun. So it fed our soul in that little interim before the game there. So, I mean, there's there's room for everybody and all kinds of incredible opportunities. Yeah,

Kyle Case  15:16  
awesome. 35 different sports. We just talked about, you know, the racquetball on the golf, which you're directly connected to? You alluded to Bocce earlier in the show, so So, you're gonna do a new sport this year.

Suzanne Leonelli  15:29  
I'm gonna do bocce ball Yeah, so I right the pandemic. Seriously. During the pandemic, I learned how to play Bochy, Bob, and I can't speak the language. I know the little ball is called a jack. No, there's a fancier a more sophisticated as Lena Lena, yes. So there's all this language and jargon that goes with basketball, which I'm still learning. But what I realized about Bochy ball and like a racquetball is when you talk about this year being a blip, it's like for me this year has become a blimp, and I put on the COVID-19, the COVID 20. A bunch of sports, but I don't get that exercise that I do with what she bought that I do with rock, so I had to do both, I have to stay in racquetball. And I'm going to do a two bar and then do golf as well.

Kyle Case  16:24  
So for those who are maybe not as familiar with the sport of Bochy, from a beginner's perspective, tell us how it's played. And so you talked about the the Halima Polina. Yeah, so just walk us through the very basics. I mean, I know there's variances, but the very basics of what is bachi.

Suzanne Leonelli  16:41  
So you have a competitor, and from what I know and how I played it, which leonelli rules always apply. You throw the jack or the Polina and then you each have your balls that you throw, to see who can get closest to the pollino and then you get scores based on how close you are. And you can eliminate other people by being closer to the Polina then they are. That's what I know. That's about all I know, but that sounds right. That's that's I know. I know the foot wedge does not apply bosu ball like it does golf. For the circle of Yes, yeah. No, but I'm excited. It's fun. You know, I think the pandemic had some good things. And part of that is learning things that you didn't know before taking on new opportunities. And it was a way to get outside, it was a great way to be active. or semi active, right. But yeah, just taking the opportunity that that lends itself to us. So.

Kyle Case  17:47  
So how many of the the what are the regular balls called? Are there? Is there a word for I think they're called regular balls? So how many of those Do you pitch down towards the jack? Do you know?

Suzanne Leonelli  17:59  
I think every bet. The way we played it again, is everybody had three. So you have three and the other person had three.

Kyle Case  18:05  
And then you're trying they're different colors. Or the or the it's called again, it's called the jack and some other sports. It's very similar to lawn lawn bowls. Yeah, there is there is some strategy, though, because you can bounce the ball off of this. Yes. of the courts. Yeah.

Suzanne Leonelli  18:19  
Now that's way out of mice, you're just going straight on straight out. Mine's not a law. But yeah, no overhead.

Kyle Case  18:34  
So, I mean, I know we're kind of laughing about this. And it's a lot of fun. But But I love this conversation here because I think this illustrates a point. And that is a lot of people feel a little intimidated when I think about the world Senior Games, because well, maybe it's not for me, and you have to be an expert, and you have to play your whole life at this sport. And listen, there are people that do

Suzanne Leonelli  18:53  
that. Absolutely. And they're gonna be there.

Kyle Case  18:55  
Yeah, we have experts. We have world champions. We have people who we have former Olympians, you know, we have those. But there's also a place for someone who just wants to experiment and try something new

Suzanne Leonelli  19:06  
and have fun, have fun, have fun and meet people and just be in the moment. That's a cool part. You're just there. You just exist and you're having a good time. You can't beat that.

Kyle Case  19:18  
So you've talked a little bit about the experience that you've had and how you carry that forward. I'm wondering if there was a, like a favorite moment where you were like, Man, I'm just so glad I'm here. When you were competing in racquetball, just a memory that stands out whether it was on the court or throughout any of the other activities that are available.

Suzanne Leonelli  19:38  
I think the coolest thing, and I'm not even going to get his name, right. But when I saw that the elderly gentleman, he was army army. When he left that tort, I just cry. Oh, no, that was john Morgan. Yeah, yeah. And I just cried and I thought How cool is that? And how powerful is that? And, you know, here I joke about wanting to Have a medal or the Huntsman world Senior Games letter jack. I want to be that person in 50 years lighting that towards still living life and loving life. And that, to me was one of the most inspirational things that I witnessed throughout the whole

Kyle Case  20:15  
process. Yeah, so just to paint that picture a little bit more vividly, you're talking about the opening ceremonies, which we have every year, we have this great ceremonies and with their singing, there's dancing, there's so much energy, it's like, it really is like, there's magic almost literally sparkling on the air, you can almost hear that tingle, you know, at that night, and everybody gets a chance to just come together and celebrate the peace and the health and the friendship that is the mission worldwide worldwide, of the hustle world Senior Games. And so just you know, we follow the pattern of the Olympics. And we have a cauldron that we lied. And the gentleman that you're referring to is john Morgan. He is the founder of the games in his late 90s. I think he'll turn 987 I think I think he'll turn 97 in October this year. But he still serves on our board and is still like you say in the moment and present. And, you know, I just can I just imagine what it feels like for him to be there to look at this stadium clear full of people and realize, man, this is something that I had a legacy. Yeah. Yeah. So yeah, one of my favorite memories. My favorite memories are almost always revolved around the ceremonies and the night that it is it's been amazing. We had our picture taken with him up at the cauldron he loved the light. Awesome. Well, I love this conversation that we've had and that we're having. I'm wondering if you have advice for anybody who's like on the bubble? Like, I don't know, if it's for me, I've thought about it, but maybe not this year, what would you tell them,

Suzanne Leonelli  21:57  
I would say if you're on the bubble, just pop the darn bubble, pop it and do it. And, and again, you know, only so many people can metal. But everybody can have fun. And everybody can walk away with one of the most magical experiences ever. And you know, it can't if you let it be intimidating, it's gonna be intimidating. But if you go in there with an open mind, and the idea that I just want to have fun, I just want to be a part of something huge and grand and positive and emotional and inspirational. I mean, just pop the bubble and do it.

Kyle Case  22:30  
Yeah, I like that. I love that. And I think you'll find that you're not you're not the only you're not alone. Really, I mean, of course they want to compete like there is a level of blood. That that doesn't go away regardless of age birthdays, it doesn't matter. But there is there's a different feel in seniors and master sports than what we all remember. And we're used to in middle school when you were the last one picked for

Suzanne Leonelli  22:57  
Yeah, that just doesn't happen at this is a totally inclusive

Kyle Case  23:02  
It really is. There's just this feeling of camaraderie and family. Right. So pop the bubble I like. Well, Suzanne, thank you for joining us. Thank you and best of luck with everything coming up in preparation for the games and you know, your professional career and everything. We're excited to see a compete in racquetball, and I'll be there watching. Yeah. Yay. Awesome. So lil. Yes, we are getting ready, where they're getting ready. You know, I talked about it at the beginning of the show. Let me just say again, Registration is open. For the husband world Senior Games, you can visit our website at Senior Games dotnet, you're going to see all that information, the schedules, the rules, the dates, as well as our COVID plan that we have in place to help keep us all safe. Again, that website is Senior Games dotnet. While you're there, check out some of the great content that we have on our website. We have regular health and wellness blog posts. In fact, we just barely posted one yesterday about sugar. Oh yeah, one of our favorite topics. So it's not broccoli. Yeah, but there's you know, there's access to all kinds of great information we have the living your best life webinar series, you know, access to the this show as well, just a ton of stuff that's there in addition to the sports and registration information, so check that out as Senior Games dotnet. And also remember to tune in live next and every Thursday at 5:30 pm Mountain Time on AM 1450 or FM 93.1 for the Huntsman World Senior Games Active Life. We of course, take this live show and then we turn it into a podcast. And you can subscribe to this podcast pretty much anywhere that podcasts are found. So if you have a favorite app that you're listening to your favorite podcast on, do a search for us on Twitter, we'll see you games active life, you'll probably find us there. If you happen to be listening by podcast right now take a moment and give us a rating or write a quick review. One of the best and easiest places to leave a review is at and they have just a star rating system and we want you to give us five stars of course, of course, but give us a rating write a little review. What that does is that really helps us get the word out. So new people are introduced, as shows get more ratings and more reviews to people who haven't heard them before, but fit within that genre. So that can really help us out a lot. You can also find this as well as previous shows on our website again, at So please check that website out. Today's inspirational thought comes from the great Albert Einstein. Okay, and it's good. It's a good one. He says, "You never fail until you stop trying. Good advice, right? Yeah. Until next Thursday, stay active.

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