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Good sports gear up for games

More than 2,000 people are ready to show that being over 55 doesn't mean you have to slow down. During the 1990 Good Life Games, they'll be bowling, swimming, playing softball, golfing and sailing against one another in Olympic style. There also will be more sedentary competitions, such as pinochle, chess and backgammon, at the games, Nov. 13 through 18.

"We have more than 30 participants over 80," said Jane Malagon, spokeswoman for Barnett Bank, a sponsor of the games. "I think it's pretty exciting to find there are some real active seniors out there and that they continue to feel fitness is important."

For those who aren't into competition, there will be celebrations Nov. 9 all over Pinellas County, an exposition Nov. 11 at Bayfront Center, a health and fitness fair Nov. 17 at Clearwater High School and a gala Nov. 18 at the Coliseum.

"You don't have to be a super athlete to participate," Malagon said. "That's why it's so great."

It's not too late to sign up. Registration for Good Life Games competitions continues through Thursday at all Barnett Bank locations, St. Petersburg Times offices, WTVT-Ch. 13 and city recreation centers.

The registration fee is $8.

The St. Petersburg Office on Aging has some booths availablefor the Good Life Expo. For information, contact the office at 893-7101.

Besides the competitors, sponsors expect more than 30,000 people to watch the competitions and attend the events. Admission is free to the exposition, the health fair and the competitions.

"Obviously, I think this is one place where older people can go to get answers to a whole variety of questions on social services or products," said Gerald Buchert, director of the St. Petersburg Office on Aging. "We've been doing this for several years, and I see the same people coming back, so I'm assuming they get what they want."

"This is a festive outing," he said. "The health screening done by the Bayfront (at the exposition) is the big draw, and the entertainment is a big draw."

The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority will offer free rides to the expo. Coupons for rides will be available starting Thursday at Barnett Bank locations and the Times .

"We just want everybody who can to participate _ however they can, Malagon said."