Missouri State Senior Games "like a family reunion"

St. Louis resident Jim Costello bowls with his siblings for the Missouri State Senior Games in Columbia. He has participated for 18 years.

Hundreds of seniors from all over Missouri spent Sunday in Columbia bowling, swimming, cycling and playing softball as part of the Missouri State Senior Games.

The games give senior citizens a chance to take part in recreational activities to promote physical fitness and mental well-being.

However, many people playing the games said the activities were about more than just beating last yearâ??s record.

68-year-old Jim Costello and his siblings have been participating in the bowling portion of the games for 18 years. The minimum age to contend in any of the sporting events is age 50.

â??My whole family does it,â?? Costello said. â??My three brothers have, my father has, two of my sisters do it, so itâ??s kind of a family thing.â??

Costello said as each of his siblings turned 50, they joined the bowling team. Since then, Costello said, they have played in the state, regional, and national games. However, Costello said for him itâ??s about much more than trying to make the state championships.

â??Meeting people from Kansas City,â?? Costello said. â??I come from St. Louis, you get the people from Columbia and around, and the same people come back all the time.â??

While each contender had a different motivation for playing, all of them had one reason in common. Baseball player William Robb said the main reason he is in the Senior Games is simple. â??Being around people,â?? Robb said. â??People who have lives outside of playing ball, but come together to play a lot of good softball.â??

Costello said just being in the same room with other people who share the same interests as him brings him a lot of joy.

â??The opportunity to meet other people,â?? Costello said. â??When you go to nationals, you have the opportunity to meet lots of people from all over the United States.â??