WALTON COUNTY SNOWBIRDS: 2 popular activities — basketball and ballroom dancing
Have a ball. Two of the most popular and long-standing activities that attract members of the Walton County Snowbirds are basketball and ballroom dancing.
The Paul Smithers Snowbirds Legends Basketball League is so popular that it runs an early season in November and December for local players and early-arriving snowbirds. Its regular season is January through March.
The program is open to snowbird groups in Panama City, Destin, Fort Walton Beach and Navarre Beach, as well as to those in Walton County. Players are 55 or older with the majority the past few years in the 60 to 75 age range.
National Senior Games Association rules are followed by the typically three-on-three teams. The Destin United Methodist Church’s rule of “no shirts and skins” is also followed. Players are requested to come prepared with both a dark and a white shirt.
Half-court games are played by the 20 to 25 active people who attend the “pickup” sessions scheduled most Mondays from 8-10 a.m. in the church's Life Center at 200 Beach Drive. Although there is no charge to participate, a collection (suggested amount $30 each ) is taken up during the January to March season as a donation to the church.
For important contact information, access the Walton County Snowbirds’ website, http://waltoncountysnowbirds.com.
Ballroom dancing, according to a recent article in the AARP Bulletin, is similar to basketball in that it’s enjoyable, needs almost no equipment and is cardio boosting. For Walton County Snowbirds, the two are also alike because sessions are held on Mondays.
Dancers meet at Faith Assembly Hall at 306 S. Geronimo St. in Miramar Beach on Monday evenings at 5:45. Basic lessons for beginners run for one hour. The focus is on dance floor etiquette, style and basic steps. The advanced beginners take the floor at 6:45 and remain until 8 p.m., learning more advanced steps.
Activity leaders Len and Jan Hoover, assisted by Dave and Gail Tudman, help beginners who choose to stay to practice with individual help during this time. Members are requested to wear Walton County Snowbird name tags received at registration.
No additional fee beyond the $20 general initiation assessment is required. Shoes with smooth or leather soles work best but are not mandatory. Mask-wearing is encouraged.
Additional information about other ballgame activity groups and more dancing to be had is available on the http://waltoncountysnowbirds.com website. Leaders will be glad to have you contact them with any questions. The website contains dates of upcoming registrations and general meetings.
Attend, join, and come have fun!
Debra Wynn, whose other home is in Connecticut, is looking forward to another year as a Walton County Snowbirds’ member.