Empire State Senior Games ‘spread throughout summer’

Pickle ball players in the middle of a match. (Camilo Fredes/Cortland Voice).


The 2021 Empire State Senior Games are in line this year, but events will be spread throughout the summer, Senior Games staff director Machell Phelps said Tuesday afternoon.

Also the executive director of the Cortland Regional Sports Council, Phelps said about a month ago there was uncertainty if the Senior Games would’ve been able to happen.

“Once opportunities opened for us, we really had to scramble what we could and couldn’t facilitate,” she added, saying options were weighed based on the different facilities/venues’ COVID-19 guidelines/protocols.

Phelps said this year’s events are scheduled “as they can happen,” and not in a “7-10 day period like previous years.” Last year’s Senior Games were tough to put together with it being near the beginning stages of the pandemic.

Confirmed event dates in the Cortland/Tompkins County areas are as follows (Spectators are not allowed at the events):

  • June 11: disc golf at Tompkins Cortland Community College
  • June 16-18: pickleball at SUNY Cortland’s Lusk Field House
  • June 25 (ages 70-and-up) and June 26 (ages 50-69): swimming at SUNY Cortland’s Holsten Pool
  • June 26-27: archery at the Cortland County Fairgrounds


Other events scheduled include:

  • June 14: short course golf at Westhill Golf Course
  • June 15-16: long course golf at Vesper Hills Golf Club in Tully
  • July 9-10: croquet at the Grace & Truth Sports Park in Rochester (Croquet Club area)


As for other events, Phelps mentioned the plan is to lock in dates and venues for cycling, bowling, and track and field soon.

Phelps has been frequently asked if volleyball will happen this year, but added the event is a “wait-and-see.”

“Right now, it’s about space confinements and finding enough officials (for volleyball),” she said.

According to New York State Health Department guidelines, recreational volleyball is still a high-risk sport.

“I’m not sure how many people are comfortable competing in confined settings,” Phelps added, saying she is waiting for the green light from the state health officials.

So far, participants in this year’s Senior Games “have not expressed too much concern” with the setup of each event, Phelps said.

“The field is fa irly comfortable with what we have laid out,” she added.

To register to compete in an event, head to the Empire State Senior Games website. Click on the “Senior Games Events” tab on the left, and scroll down to the event you’d like to register for. 

The registration fee is $40. Participants are allowed to compete in multiple events, Phelps said.

Phelps mentioned registration for pickleball is almost at full capacity (325 people so far) since “95% of the people who registered last year carried over to this year.”

Phelps added the Seniors Games staff is looking for volunteers to assist with pickleball. If interested, call the Empire State Senior Games office at 607-756-1864.