Staying Spry at 60-plus


See Granny Run. That’s my first response to sports competitions for seniors. Because there’s always a super-sporty over-achieving grandmother. The South African version of elder-sport is the Golden Games and a southern African granny is a gogo. So 81-year-old Katie Barendse was dubbed the Golden Games Gogo.

South Africa’s 2013 National Golden Games held in Boksburg, east of Johannesburg (photo: Lauren Milligan)

South Africa’s 2013 National Golden Games held in Boksburg, east of Johannesburg
(photo: Lauren Milligan)

I am in awe of the Golden Games Gogo’s training routine for the 200 meter sprint.

I train every second day by jumping, running and kicking a ball. Doing housework and taking care of my grandchildren comes easy now.
– Katie Barendse

As a mother of 10, Barendse probably has a lot of grandkids to run after. No wonder she’s such a good sprinter, and placed second in the event.

If you can be a hottie after 70, Johnson Khuzwayo is one. Here he is competing in the 800 meter relay.

Golden Games competitor Johnson Khuzwayo, 70

Golden Games competitor Johnson Khuzwayo, 70

Nearly a thousand over-60-year-olds competed in the Golden Games categories of Track Races, Soccer, Rugby, Ball Pass and Goal Shooting. Plus two categories that involve throwing objects at poles.

Ring The Stick is pretty self-explanatory and sounds age-appropriate. (For the elderly and small children at birthday parties.) A similar category is the Afrikaans folk sport of Jukskei, where the objects thrown are from the yokes of ox-drawn wagons. In the post-apartheid sporting era Jukskei has been declared an indigenous game, along with African games like Intonga, Zulu stick-fighting.

The Golden Games sport category most suited to My New Old Self is not one involving sticks. I figured that the only one I’d manage would be Brisk Walk. Then I discovered one more category called Pegging Washing.

I cannot wait for next year’s games where I can go for gold.
– Golden Games Silver medallist in Pegging Washing, Nokhaya Nyakaza

It’s not only elderly Pegging Washing competitors who are passionate about this chore-cum-sport. There are no less than 114 posts from people of all ages about “the best way to peg your washing out” on a top UK parenting website.

“Bottoms by their tops and tops by their bottoms” is these peggers’ rule of thumb. But those are amateurs. Serious peggers who are In It To Win It may have other strategies, perhaps aimed more at maximizing pegging speed than getting clothes dry.

And I should pause to note that this is one activity where age is not a disadvantage. Experience counts with Pegging Washing. It’s something you’d ask your parents about. Or better still, your grandparents.

If you want to check out some Pegging Washing action and you missed the event at the Golden Games, there’s no shortage of videos online. You might start with the aptly named: The Most Boring Video on YouTube.

Mom Hangs Laundry shows the same sporty chore with different equipment. Instead of a clothesline this mom uses a rotating metal clothes dryer, AKA a whirlybird or windy dryer.

This cute comment is obviously from someone too young to recall life before tumbler dryers.

OMG! Where did you get that? It is awesome for someone who does not have a big yard. It’s like an upside down umbrella. Love it.
– comment on awesome rotating clothes dryer

Reminds me of a student who was gobsmacked by the sight of a manual typewriter and asked where you plug it in.

So has all this talk of clothes pegs on damp undies made you nostalgic? Are you going to start training for next year’s Pegging Washing event? If so, you might check whether this guy is available to coach you. He’s so fast he doesn’t even need pegs – or maybe he’s so fast you can’t see them.

Unfortunately, Drying Clothes Martial Arts Style sparked an ageist comment.

I’d love to see Mrs N. next door doing that! Oh those creaking bones.
– comment on the martial arts approach to Pegging Washing

Clearly from some youngster who hasn’t reckoned on the possibility that a posse of Golden Gamers fresh from the Pegging Washing event might chance upon that comment and take offence.


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