Sign of distress for National Senior Games? Deadline extended

This happens every time: The National Senior Games looks at its numbers and sends out an appeal for entrants, extending the deadline. If the Houston event (actually the meet has been shifted to Humble) is worried about turnout, the reasons are mainly two: Sacramento and heat. If you’re not affluent with lots of vacation time, attending both worlds and national Senior Games is a no-go. Not to mention Cleveland nationals.

Here’s what the NSGA sent out in an email:

The registration deadline for the 2011 Summer National Senior Games has been extended to Mar. 15. Athletes and teams signing up after this period will be subject to late fees. The late period for registration now extends from Mar. 16-Mar.31. The late fees are $50 for individual sports and $200 for team sports. We do not anticipate extending registration past Mar. 31. Currently, we have more than 7,500 individuals including 330 teams who have registered for this summer’s Games.

If 7,500 are entered overall (in all sports), how many are doing track and field? Could be modest.

So a poll, unscientific as it may be:

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February 25, 2011

15 Responses

  1. Jerry Bookin-Weiner - February 26, 2011

    Masters are notoriously late in entering meets. For the East Regional Indoor both last year and this about 80% of entries came in during the last two weeks and the vast majority of those during the last week. I wouldn’t put too much stock in number this far out from their deadline. Also, there are LOTS of folks who go to the NSG who never come to the USATF Nationals or the Worlds. State senior games and the NSG are essentially all they do other than very local meets. I’ve seen this in all three parts of the country where I’ve lived in the past decade.

  2. Kathy Bergen - February 26, 2011

    Why does no one mention that the Senior Games entry fees are exorbitant ? Certainly this is a factor in number of entrees .
    Bert Bergen

  3. Tom Fahey - February 26, 2011

    I would like to compete in the National Senior Games but can’t because I didn’t enter the state games.

    About ten years a ago, I entered the the California State Games. I flew to LA, booked a room for two nights, and rented a car. They cancelled the discus (my main event) because they couldn’t find the key to the cage. I won’t enter the meet again.

    I received a waiver two years ago at Stanford because I was a local. I won the discus in my age group (m60). I think they should accept entrants who achieve a standard in the event, even if they don’t compete in the state games.

  4. Dave - February 26, 2011

    Agree with Tom. It’s great thing that there is a national meet other than the Indoor and Outdoor Masters champs. What is really gained by restricting the NSG entries to State Games competitors? Put the state of origin next to the athletes. Solved.

  5. Mary Harada - February 26, 2011

    The NSG fee is exorbitant – one of many reasons why I am not going – along with – no track event longer than the 1500m, have to “qualify” in a state meet in each event one wishes to enter, Houston is too hot and humid, and better choices for me – WMA in SAC (yes hot – but I can run longer events there such as the 8k x-c, 5k, and if I am having an “out of my mind day” even the 10k. (not doing that – but it is an option). Plus the Nat masters in Ohio as well as an option.
    And while I agree with Jerry that masters like to register late – in addition to the exorbitant fee there is also a $50 late fee for those who register late. One has to like to take a match to $10 bills to be willing to pay that. When I want to waste money I buy a $1 lottery ticket.

  6. tbell - February 26, 2011

    I won’t actually qualify until March 27th. If I were to sign up for my one event, it would be $190. I’ll have to pass.

  7. Dave Hockersmith - February 26, 2011

    Two years ago in Stanford they also extended the entry date and they ended up with more people than any USATF championship I’ve ever attended. The meet was also incredibly well run. If they said your race was at 3:13 it started at 3:13!
    It will be interesting to see if attendance is down this year because of the world games.

  8. Louis Coppens - February 26, 2011

    I qualified easily for 3 events inT&F in the last two senior games and would have again,however I couldn’t attend the state games(my daughter had a baby with severe medical rpoblems).If I could be admitted to the mile and 5k road race I would go.

  9. Mark Zeug - February 28, 2011

    The mission of the National Senior Games Association is, simply put, to get seniors off their butts; we provide opportunities for seniors to be physically active, at all levels. We use a qualifying system because we want to provide seniors with more opportunities to be involved in physical activity, and to support our state and local games. If the elite athletes don’t want to come to the National Senior Games because they have to qualify at a state games, so be it — the world does not revolve around them. There are thousands of other physically active seniors who are interested in doing both state and local games and the national games. Even with a network of over 200 state and local games, the NSGA reaches less than one-half of one percent of seniors in this country. But as usual, Ken Stone is only thinking of the elite athlete and doesn’t care one iota about the rest of us. In track and field, elite athletes comprise less than 1/1000th of one percent of seniors — there is another world out there, Ken. Reach out to them — they need and want to compete as much as the elite athlete. And someday they may be interested in going to the USA Masters or even the Worlds. And don’t say no one else uses a qualifying system — look at the junior olympics system within track and field itself. As for extention deadlines, look at your own posted archives, Ken — many events extend the deadline; it’s part of their marketing plan. It gives them one more opportunity to provide a bit of news to their market, which for NSGA includes the other 99.5 percent of seniors around the country. Also, FYI, masters and seniors are NOT the only ones who are notoriously late in registering for events; it applies to all age groups, as anyone who runs state and local events for children, juniors, open or any other age group can tell you. I’ve been organizing events for local folks for over 30 years, and extending the deadline for the very first Aloha State Games was the smartest thing we did — it got more press and more response than all the previous media messages we sent out. But of course, Ken only looks at events from the perspective of the elite athlete, never from the perspective of the organizers, most of whom bust their butts with little or no compensation just so the rest of you can have the opportunity to compete.

  10. decamp2000 - March 1, 2011

    I have no problem with the extension of the deadline. I agree that we should be encouraging as many seniors as possible to get out there and enjoy the opportunity to be active. What I don’t agree with is the fact that you have to compete at a state meet to be able to compete at the National meet. For any seniors competition, anyone that wants to compete should be encouraged to join the show. If that means adding additional sections for races, that is great. We don’t need restrictions or qualifying standards that discourage people from participating.
    My hope and desire is for both organizations to grow stronger and benefit more mature adults in their quest to be more active.

  11. Don Bailey - March 1, 2011

    Mark, your post is a bit condescending. The fact remains there are several options for masters athletes this coming summer, all of which will require a great deal of travel for many at a considerable cost. Add to USATF Nationals and WMA Worlds the National State Games (San Diego) and the World Police and Fire Games (NYC).

    Choices have to be made, unless you’re independently wealthy as Ken stated. The entry fee for the senior games is extremely high.

    I competed in my local Senior games this past summer and the experience was less than adequate, it was worse than a poorly run middle school event. It was a poor reflection on what is supposed to be a state championship. And this was the comment from a great number of competitors.

    I’ll compete locally again to see if they can get it right, but for the big events (nationals) I’m going with a known product. The National Senior Games may get it right, but because of the way the state was run, I’m not willing to risk a poor experience for the amount of money it will take.

    Having a state qualifier to the national meet is not an impediment, I think it’s a good thing. I’m not sure where you see anyone knocking the requirement.

    Finally, most of the athletes at the USATF Nationals are not of an elite class, and I don’t see where anyone claims that they (we) are. We do, however, want a well run meet

  12. washer toss dude - March 1, 2011

    Little too much time on my hands today so I looked up the results for the last three California State Senior Games Championships (only three available on line)

    2010, 239 participants
    2009, 165
    2008, 269

    Even numbered years are qualifying for Nationals, odds are for bragging rights. Small sample size but it looks like more folks turn out for the qualifying years so if the intent is to get us off our butts, it seems to be working. At least more folks are willing to head down I5 from Northern Cal.

    Hope I’m not outting him, but some guy named Ken Stone competed in 2009 and 2010…

  13. Doghouse Riley - April 9, 2011

    Did you notice that the rain date for the 800 is a week after the scheduled 800? That’s right, if it rains, you need to come back a week later or live in rainy Houston for a week. I hear it rains sometimes in Houston. Also, what do you get for an entry fee four or five times bigger than a USATF national meet, free parking?

  14. Deb Landry - May 26, 2011

    I contemplated entering the meet, but the whole adventure was just too cost-prohibitive. First, there are some serious entry fees (I’d be looking at 4 T&F events). Next, I looked at the cost of a flight from the east coast to Houston & back – close to $500, and that was 3 months in advance! Next, I’d have to pay for food, lodging, transportation, etc. The cost would be nearing 1k, and thats just the start of my season. I’m nowhere near “in-form/peak” in mid-June versus August, so I’d presume I wouldn’t be competing at my best. Though I “qualified” via either good marks and/or placement at state meets, I’d sure hate to spend a bundle of money on events that I’d wind up faring only so-so in. On the flip side, to go for only 1-2 events is an awfully expensive “adventure”. Some of us “seniors” out here can’t afford much, and for me, I’m still working fulltime and have limited training time, funding, etc. Make it a little more financially reasonable, and you’d attract more folks like me. Not everyone is retired, w/time to kill, number one, and number two, many of us aren’t rich!

  15. Keith Nelson - August 19, 2014

    I cannot find anywhere what past or future entry fees are for the National Senior Games. Comments are made that they are very high. What have they been in past years?

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