Yukoner Madeline Boyd, 90, competes for the love of sport at Canada 55+ Games

At 90 years young, Madeline Boyd is a carpet bowling queen and sport fanatic — she was at the very first 2022 Canada 55+ Games held in Medicine Hat, Alta., and she’s competing with a team from the Yukon this week in Kamloops, B.C.

Asked how she keeps her zest for sports, Boyd is frank.

“I like sports and I’ve always enjoyed playing — I’ve played bocce [ball] in the games, I’ve played curling. We got a gold medal in curling,” she said. 

She’s also a lawn bowler, and a gold medallist at that.

Boyd said sports have always been a part of her life. 

“The only sport I’ve never played is golf,” she said. 

The Canada 55+ Games will bring together 2,500 participants to compete in events that focus on social, physical and psychological well-being. 

Boyd is on Team Yukon for the Canada 55+ Games and their ranks have only grown since the very first games in Medicine Hat, Alta. (Submitted by Adrienne Marsh)

The games are held every two years and participants have to qualify at the provincial and territorial levels. 

Events include five-pin bowling, a five- and 10-kilometre run, 8-ball billiards, badminton, carpet bowling, contract bridge, cribbage, cycling, darts, dragon boating and more. 

“The people, they’re all seniors. They’ve all been there, done that. So it’s good,” she said. 

Carpet bowling is a bit like curling. The balls are weighted and you aim for the “jack” which is a white ball. The goal is to get your ball as close to the jack as possible.

If you compete, you might even win some hardware, said Boyd.

“Oh yeah, we’ll bring home some medals,” she said. 

“Yukon will do well here, we always have.”

Hot weather, good times

Kamloops reached a high of 35 C recently, but that hasn’t stopped Boyd and her team.

They’re keeping cool in the air-conditioned facilities where thousands of seniors are enjoying the games. 

“So far it’s OK. We’re not busting ourselves or nothing, but we’re enjoying it.”

Carpet bowling is just an extension of her active lifestyle. 

She rides horses all summer and curls all winter. 

Boy says keeping active into her ninth decade runs in the family — her own father lived well into his 90s.

“My father once told me he was 99 and I went back to school and told the teachers that [he was] 99, and everybody laughed and I didn’t know why, because age was another number.”

She started out on sports young, playing with a leading softball team at the old ballpark in Whitehorse.

“The only thing was when we won a game, they all went to the Elks,” she said. 

“I was too young to go to the bar. That’s the only problem,” Boyd laughs.

When she competed at the very first Canada 55+ Games Held in Medicine Hat, there were 40 people on Yukon’s team, and now there are more than 200 strong.

Boyd’s advice to other seniors is to stay active if you can. 

“Why not? You know, I mean, I’m able. So why not try these sports? You’re always out with good people and it’s a good social [activity].”

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