TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Driving a UPS truck for 31 years has prepared Ginger Barbacovey for the long drive from her home in Cantonment, just north of Pensacola, to the 2019 Florida Senior Games, presented by Humana, in the Greater Fort Lauderdale area, for the bowling competition on December 7-8.
“I’m retired now, and I can go where I want and do what I want,” she said. “I’ve been bowling in Pensacola for the last 30 years, and it’s one my favorite things to do now, besides playing pickleball. I bowl in three leagues.
Barbacovey’s experience showed at the 2018 Florida Senior Games in Clearwater where she won the women’s doubles gold medal in the 60-64 age group with Theda Hicks, from Pace. In her inaugural appearance at the Games, Barbacovey also won the silver medal in women’s singles and had a fourth-place finish in mixed doubles with Lawrence Draeger, of Pensacola.
For her efforts at the 2018 Games, Barbacovey earned the FSG Bowling Female Most Pins Award sending a total of 1,998 pins to the floor.
Her three-game score of 727 in women’s doubles was the highest women’s score of the weekend. In the gold-medal winning performance, Barbacovey rolled games of 277, 204 and 246, as she and Hicks pulled off an upset over Christy Morawski, who won the 2018 women’s singles gold medal and Carol Teel, the 2017 Florida Senior Games Female Athlete of the Year.
“In my bowling career, I’ve had two perfect games and a 299,” she said. “I’m really proud of those achievements.”
Besides her claims to fame on the bowling lanes, Barbacovey is establishing herself on the pickleball courts since she stepped out from behind the wheel of the brown delivery trucks two years ago. She competed in the Pensacola Senior Games in September.
“I play as much as I can, but I was not a tennis player,” she said. “I started from scratch. It’s not yet a big deal in Pensacola area like in other places. There are no designated courts. We play on basketball courts where pickleball courts are set up. I’m playing in a tournament coming up in Fort Walton Beach.”
Besides her travels to Fort Lauderdale for the 2019 Florida Senior Games, Barbacovey has her sights set on the U.S. Bowling Congress (USBC) Women’s National Championships in Las Vegas in April 2020.
“There will be women from Germany, Japan, the Caribbean Islands and some professional bowlers at that tournament,” Barbacovey said. “I’m even driving out to that tournament.”
Now that she is able to go where she wants to go when she wants to go, Barbacovey has not missed the busy holiday season of a UPS driver.
“My husband and I were able to spend Christmas with his family in Philadelphia last year for the first time,” she said.
Hopefully, the 2019 Florida Senior Games will be the start of another happy holiday season for her with more medal winning performances as she makes her family plans on the 650-mile ride home to Cantonment.
The 2019 Florida Senior Games, presented by Humana, will be held in the Greater Fort Lauderdale area, December 6-15, for athletes age 50 and over. Registration is currently open for 23 sports with information available at www.floridaseniorgames.com. Registration fees vary by sport and the online registration deadline is November 20.
About the Florida Senior Games, presented by Humana
The Florida Senior Games, presented by Humana, are presented annually by the Florida Sports Foundation (FSF), the state’s lead sports promotion and development organization, and a division of Enterprise Florida, Inc. The Foundation works in conjunction with a variety of local sports industry partners to present the different competitions. The Florida Senior Games, presented by Humana, an annual amateur sports tradition in Florida, is part of the state’s $57.4 billion sports industry that accounts for 580,000 jobs statewide.