The cold temps and wind didn’t put a damper on the energy at the Lincoln Park softball fields on Sunday the excitement from players was almost tangible.

Saturday marked the start of the 39th annual Tucson Senior Olympic Festival with archery and softball as the first weekend’s main events.

It’s a competition that welcomes participants 50 years and older, offering 30 events from popular sports to card games and leisure walking.

Next year, they hope to add mahjong, a Chinese tile game, and chair volleyball for those with mobility restrictions.

(It) offers people a unique opportunity to socialize, meet new people, get up and move,” said event coordinator Stacey Belhumeur.

She knows how tightly-knit the softball community is, noting that some of Sunday’s umpires she’s known since she played in high school.

13 teams competed in two brackets at Lincoln Park, 8116 E. Escalante Rd.

Its just like a big family and we really enjoy spending time together, said player Raul Turrieta. He makes the trip from his home of New Mexico each week to play with his buddies.

Especially when we get at this age, it is just amazing how much you really need to take care of yourself. Youve got to sleep well, youve got to eat well,” he said.

His team finished with a gold medal in their division.

“And a lot of these guys theyre in their mid-sixties, theyre in their seventies and theyre still out here balling it up and thats what its all about,” Turrieta explained.

Only men signed up this year, which has continued since the COVID-19 pandemic, but coordinators hope to recruit women and develop co-ed teams going forward.

Still, the Olympic Festival is fostering relationships on and off the field.

Susan Hayes, Terri Calton and Chris Mckeon all moved to Green Valley from Illinois last year, but at different times. They didn’t meet until their husbands played on the same softball league.

Now, they’re cheering them on from the stands in Tucson, calling themselves the “Three Musketeers.”

“We get loud sometimes, but it’s all in good fun,” said Calton.

Hayes brags about her husband’s Olympic debut to her other friends. “As we were walking away, he says, ‘Its not that big of a deal, Susan.’ To me, it is a big deal.

There are still some events open for registration. For details, reach out to the event coordinator through