Heini von Schilling is redefining the term “golden years.” Or should that be “gold glove”?
The Comox Valley competitor has just returned from the 30th annual Huntsman World Senior Games in St. George, Utah wearing yet another gold medal around his neck.
This year, his Coast Capitals softball team took spot in the AAA 79+ age division. “My team was mostly from the Lower Mainland and also included players from the Parksville area, Victoria and the United States,” von Schilling noted.
Nine teams of 14 players-plus took part in the 79+ age group competition. This was von Schilling’s sixth time at the Games; he also won gold last year with the Capitals.
This year, the Capitals won seven straight games en route to the gold. in round robin play they defeated Sussa 16-14, Redwood Chiefs 15-14 and California Gold Rush 18-13. In the playoffs, they won 15-6 over Sussa, 17-14 over Redwood Chiefs and 24-22 over Sussa, then beat Sussa (for the fourth time) in the final 14-10.
Over the course of the Games, the versatile von Schilling played shortstop, catcher and was the designated hitter. That versatility developed over many decades on the diamond.
“I played softball in school, fastball in the ’50s and baseball in the ‘60s,” he recalls.
There followed a 25-year hiatus during his time in Port McNeill. “When I moved back down here in the ’80s I played for the Amigos and Rebels.” With no local teams left for him to play for, von Schilling travels twice a week to Parksville to stay active in the game he loves.
He is already looking forward to the 2017 Huntsman World Senior Games, Oct. 9-21 in St. George. “The Games promote peace, health and friendship,” von Schilling noted.
This year’s Games featured players aged 50 and up from 34 countries and just over 11,000 athletes competing over almost two weeks (Oct. 3-15). The Games hosted many sports, including race walk, volleyball, golf, lawn bowls, cycling, square dance, archery, basketball, horseshoes, bridge, swimming and pickle ball.
For a full list of results and more information, visit www.seniorgames.net