An Awesome sight at the Council on Aging

A group of Marblehead High students took on Marblehead seniors in the chair volleyball Awesome Bowl on Wednesday. Photo by Spenser Hasak

Ahead of the Super Bowl LVIII matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers, Marblehead Council on Aging seniors and students from Marblehead High School held a championship of their own Wednesday afternoon.

Inside the Jacobi Community Center gym, students competed against Council on Aging members in a chair-volleyball match for the highly prestigious and first-ever “Awesome Bowl” trophy. Using a beach volleyball, students and seniors sat on opposite sides of the net and played three best-to-10 games to determine the Awesome Bowl champion.

The match was highly contested and everyone had their game faces on. Many of the students brought Marblehead High School jerseys to wear, and some of the seniors even threw some eye black on to show that they meant business.

Chair volleyball was started at the COA after Bocce players John and Josie Crowley suggested the game after playing a match while down in Florida. COA Executive Director Lisa Hooper then asked Pat Bibbo to look into getting the program started, and it was an instantaneous hit.

Students at the high school got involved a few months ago after a group had started a club called Students and Seniors. Originally, the club began as a scrapbooking group that was brought to the COA, but has now expanded to playing chair volleyball and even doing Zumba classes with some of the seniors.

Students have now been coming to the COA semi-regularly during their magic block, an hour-long free block during the school day, which has created a positive atmosphere that has become contagious for everyone involved.

“They are just so much fun, so polite. They’re going to win, but they’re so polite,” Josie Crowley joked. “They laugh, they have fun, and they give me hope for their future. All we hear is what the bad kids are doing, we don’t hear what the good kids are doing.”

At the end of the match, Bibbo presented the students with a tin cup filled with mints and labeled “Awesome Bowl” as they laughed with and congratulated the seniors on a good game.

Sophomore Sadie Halpern, who was one of the students who organized the Students and Seniors club, said the experience of garnering relationships with members of the COA has been great.

“It’s just been a great way to have the students and seniors in our community come together and for students to see what the COA is like,” Halpern said. “(The seniors) talk about how they always ask when we’re coming back… It’s a good thing to look forward to.”

While the next Awesome Bowl championship may have to wait until next year’s Super Bowl week, a rematch between the seniors and their newfound friends already seems likely.