How can we mere mortals go against someone who has a century of cool, calm, and collected, experience? We are putty in her hands, but fortunately her hands are handily busy with her weapon of choice: the javelin.
It’s hard not to get too effusive about Ms. Storch, knowing there isn’t a plateau she hasn't cleared or a mountain she hasn't climbed. While many of us are not sure if we are too indecisive, this woman takes decisive, and determined, and dogged - to a doggone degree.
So, right-armed with her spear and her left hand holding her walker, she heaved the javelin. She’s done 4.26 meters, but in this event she took two of her allowed six throws, stuck it 3.18 meters and called it a day. An ingénue 87-year-old Doreen Erskine chucked it 5 meters to win.
Florence grew up on a farm. Gordie Howe, the only hockey player to play in the NHL in five decades, was born on a farm. And the “Golden Jet” Bobby Hull owed his slap shot to pitching hay on the farm in Ontario. You gotta see this picture of Bobby Hull doing just that. Built farm tough, all three.
Now let’s talk a bit of ancient history. What came first, Florence Storch or the sport of Javelin throwing? OK, the Javelin’s been around a bit longer, having being tossed about in the pentathlon in Greece as far back as 708 B.C.
While Storch was the grand dame of these games, a lot of other seniors were also stepping out, shaking their stuff. For heaven’s sake there is even a 90+ demographic! The motto of the games, held in Strathcona County, Alberta was “Happiness is Health!”
There were 24 sports in all, and while some seemed particularly suited to the older set, like Whist, Contact Bridge, no, make that Contract Bridge, and Carpet Bowling, there were others we didn't even know older folks were allowed to watch, let alone play, such as Ice-Hockey, Swimming, and Track and Field.
In women’s ice-hockey, for example, the players had to be in good shape. They played two 20-minute periods of stop time. If the game was tied at the end of regulation, it went into sudden death (the game, not the players...)
Let’s say Florence Storch is your idol. Not a bad choice. You are turning 55 this year so in 2015 you want to be the best in women’s javelin. Here’s what you should shoot for: beat 20.14 meters because that’s the mark that won the 2014 games, flung by a B. Dion. Couldn't find any more information about her, she’s probably busy either signing autographs or fleeing the paparazzi.
You've won the Canada + 55 games. Way to go. Where do you go now? To the Masters Athletics. These games officially started in Toronto, Canada in 1975. So what’s a wonderful women’s mark to beat in the javelin to be the best heaver? Why not top 100-year-old Ruth Frith of Australia? Her mark still stands at 6.43 meters. Many of us sad-sack types can’t even walk that far to fetch donuts.
Ruth Frith, who unfortunately passed away in February 2014, was a piece of work who didn't go for vegetables.
“Don’t eat vegetables, because I never eat vegetables. I know people that like diets that will scream at me, (but) don’t eat vegetables. I never have.”
Don’t let the grand-kids hear about that. Or yourself. But as the saying goes, there are horses for courses, and here’s what she mastered without vegetables coursing through her. She holds the record in the W85 Women’s Triple Jump. She has the marks to beat in the W100 Discus, Shot Put, Hammer Throw...I can’t keep writing, my arm is too sore...
Florence may be in a league of her own, but other golden oldies have some pretty neat new dog tricks they’re showing around town. 75-year-old Charles Stolfus took up roller skating. Ed Delano, of the same age, bicycled some 3,000+ miles from Davis, California to Worcester, Massachusetts for a school reunion.
And let us not forget St. Nick, Santa Claus. He’s gotta be, what now 80? And he’s still going strong delivering presents and presence worldwide, at least one night a year that he’ll admit to.
Presidential adviser to Woodrow Wilson, Bernard M. Baruch, once said “To me-old age is 15 years older than I am.” Florence Storch is living a page from that outlook.
We've all heard the saying about life being a play. Florence has hit the daily double with hers combining length and excellence.
Storch says “she’s not quitting anytime soon....why stop” That’s an attitude more of us could start with.