Cornhole gains popularity at Greater Palm Bay Senior Center


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Seniors at the Greater Palm Bay Senior Center have developed camaraderie while playing cornhole.

Brenda Eggert Brader

Whether born in 14th century Europe, created in the hills of Kentucky or invented by native Americans, the bag toss game of cornhole is growing in popularity.

An active group formed just two months ago at the Greater Palm Bay Senior Center, the cornhole players love the game and all it brings with it.

“It started as a good activity for the senior citizens,” said Bo Olinski, the leader of the group who suggested bringing the game to the center. “It’s not hard on the body parts, it provides exercise, fellowship and lots of humor. There aren’t that many activities for seniors other than playing cards.”

A few of the members say they have played the game “up North.” Enjoying the game there, they pursued it here. Each player has four corn bags each, tossing toward the hole in the platform beyond. The bags are made of cotton duck fabric filled with corn and powder. Each weights 1 pound, according to Olinski.

Janice Savarese is a new member of the senior center who joined the cornhole group.

“I joined to get into some sort of activities,” Savarese said. “I play bocce, cornhole, sit down exercises. I can try to get myself to see where I fit in and go and make it. I am getting to meet friends here. I am enjoying it now.”

Joining the senior center after her husband’s passing, Fran Stevens played cornhole when she lived in the North.

“My balance is really bad, but I can use a cane,” Stevens said. “This is good exercise, gives me a chance to meet more people. Just the friendship of the whole thing is great. If you don’t participate in something, you just sit at home and get old. Here at the Palm Bay Senior Center, people are busy and active.”

Ruth Jorge just started the game. In fact, it was only her third time playing and yet she looked like a pro, easily picking up points with each toss.

The group meets from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. each Monday at the senior center. All members must be members of the senior center.