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Sue Guinn Legg

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Brainpower: Local seniors test minds against each other

August 30th, 2013 9:41 am by Sue Guinn Legg

Brainpower: Local seniors test minds against each other

Competition was lively at the Area Agency on Aging and Disability’s first annual First District Brain Games. (Tony Duncan/Johnson City Press)


Two Beauties and a Beast, a razor-sharp trio representing the Erwin Seniors Center, walked away Thursday with a district title and a berth in an upcoming regional competition at the Area Agency on Aging and Disability’s first annual First District Brain Games.


Hosted by the Johnson City Seniors’ Center at its new location in the Memorial Park Community Center, the district match pitted teams from six area seniors centers in a test of trivia knowledge, confidence and gamesmanship.


See a photo gallery of the competition at the end of this article.

The Brain Games were initiated by the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability to help nurture minds and promote healthy aging.


Three-person teams representing the seniors centers of Johnson City, Bristol, Kingsport, Rogersville, Erwin and Elizabethton advanced to district games by besting other teams from their home centers in in-house Brain Games competitions held earlier this month.


Winners of the district matchup, Pauline Stierwalt, Becky Trutla and Ralph Hood, who dubbed their team Two Beauties and a Beast, will represent the Tri-Cities in next month’s East Tennessee Regional Brain Games match against winning seniors center teams from the Knoxville and Chattanooga area.


“We’re going to try,” an elated Stierwalt said of the their chances at the regional meet, where the winners will go on to represent Tennessee’s Eastern Grand Division in a state competition to be held in October in Nashville.


Stierwalt’s cautious apprehension was understandable. Thursday’s district match was a tough one, with Erwin edging out the Kingsport Know It Alls by a mere 12 points in the fourth and final round that saw Rogersville’s Senior Lights lose their two-point lead over Erwin and fall from first to third place.


And this was in spite of a final-round final question in the category “Notable People” that thoroughly miffed the Erwin “beast.”


Quite certain that the biblical Eve and not Eleanor Roosevelt was the first lady who came to be referred to as the “The First Lady of World,” Hood said afterward with as much laughter as frustration,“A liberal must have wrote that question.”


But then, laughter and frustration were all part of the game Thursday, and in the end it was Hood and the two beauties who claimed the roving championship plaque that will be displayed at the Erwin Seniors Center until next year’s games put the title back up for grabs.


To help them prepare for the regional, Beulah Ferguson, master of ceremonies at the district games and director of special programs for the First Tennessee Development District, presented the team with a stack of entertaining and potentially helpful study materials, “The Utterly, Completely, and Totally Useless History Fact-O-Pedia,” “The Pocket Genius: 563 Facts That Make You the Smartest Person in the Room” and “So You Think You’re Good at Trivia.”


As the games closed, Ferguson also presented the winners, their competitors and the crowd of spectators who came to watch the following pearl of wisdom first offered up by Mrs. Roosevelt herself: “Beautiful young people are acts of nature. Beautiful old people are works of art.”


Additional Photos

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