Police, seniors share afternoon of fun in laid-back Olympics
Cpl. Darryl Drew sank a ball in a corner pocket with his glasses on and smiled over the billiards table to the watching senior citizens.
He plucked the glasses off, setting them on the wooden rail of the table before preparing for his next shot.
“Oh, he’s serious now,” one onlooker said.
Pop. The cue ball rolled, but entirely missed its target.
“Should’ve kept the glasses on,” a critic noted, and the Durham police officer and his companions laughed.
Still, Drew's team won the first round of 9-ball at Tuesday’s Annual Police Officers vs. Seniors Olympic Challenge. Now in its fourth year, the event’s goal is to strengthen the relationship between police and the community that they serve, especially senior citizens.
Besides billiards, more than 50 participants played cards, checkers, table tennis, dominos and even Wii bowling.
“We wanted our seniors to have a good partnership with police officers and have a good relaxing afternoon with them,” said Allison Hubbard, the center’s senior director of programs.
Drew has participated in all four Olympics. “I enjoy the interaction and giving back, just being around them, and putting smiles on their faces,” he said. But Drew also wants to make sure they’re safe and secure in their environment, and that they remain aware of their surroundings.
Clarice Preston, one of Drew’s opponents during the first round, visits the center about three times a week. Clad in a black “Laid Back Old-Timer’s Hat,” she’s been working a cue for more than 20 years.
“I just love the game,” she said.
She also appreciated the underlying message of the event, as police gave out fliers with tips for seniors to protect themselves and their neighbors, including:
- If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Avoid scams, particularly from people who claim to be from police or church organizations. Never give out your Social Security number or credit card information.
- Know your home alarm system.
- Mark valuables in the house with your North Carolina driver’s license number.
- Keep an eye on other homes, watch for suspicious cars, people and activities. Jot down license plate numbers if you can safely do so.
- Maintain your car and keep at least a half tank of gas at all times.
- If you think you’re being followed, go to a busy, lighted convenience store and call 911. Keep a cell phone handy.
Jannie Cozart watched over the Mexican Train dominos table – one of her favorites. “Coming here keeps me busy and focused on what’s going on around me,” she said.
She welcomed the chance to match wits against police officers.
“We always whoop ’em,” she said with a laugh. “Now we just need to get the firefighters down here.”
Wes Platt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-419-6684. Follow on Twitter at @HS_WesPlatt. Connect on Facebook at facebook.com/wesplattheraldsun.