There are only 26 letters in the alphabet, but for Janice Johnson, that means unlimited possibilities when it comes to the challenging game of Scrabble.
The Clive woman recently competed at the 2015 Alberta 55 Plus Winter Games held in Lethbridge.
“It really was a lot of fun,” she said of the experience. “I’ve never attended before.”
Johnson competed in the Scrabble 70 Plus Open, along with many other local competitors in various sports and categories for Zone 4, which includes Rocky Mountain House, Stettler, Camrose, Red Deer and Lacombe. Zone 4 competitors played in Scrabble, shuffleboard, darts and curling.
“There were quite a few venues and over 1,000 participants,” she said of the Games.
To qualify to attend the 55 Plus Games, Johnson had to ‘out-word’ more than a few players during scrabble playoffs held in Mirror.
The playoffs were held last fall and from there she made the cut to attend to represent Zone 4.
Johnson said the competition at the Games was fierce, starting at 9 a.m. each day, over a two-day period, with each game lasting 50-minutes and just a few breaks in between.
“We played seven games a day,” she said. “It was pretty intense.”
In the Scrabble 70 Plus Open final, Johnson took on Laverne Brooks of Calgary. Brooks out-matched Johnson, but Johnson still won a coveted silver medal.
Walter Hawksworth of Mirror, also competed in the Scrabble 70 Plus category, as a player from Zone 2 couldn’t make it so he filled in for the player for the two-day competition.
Johnson and Hawksworth competed against each other at the Games, like they had during the Mirror playoffs.
Hawksworth won a bronze medal in the Scrabble 70 Plus Open final.
“It’s all about who gets the letters,” explained Johnson about her technique.
Johnson has been honing her Scrabble skills her whole life.
Some of her opponents practice online, but Johnson has a more challenging opponent to practice with, her 96-year-old mother.
“She keeps me on my toes,” she said.
Johnson practices with her mother three times a week, but recently wanted to test her skills out on someone else, which is why she attended the scrabble playoffs last fall.
Lisa Hawksworth, of Mirror, also competed in the Scrabble 55 Plus Open category and came home with a silver medal.
Frank Snopek, of Camrose, and Hazel Heistad, of Lacombe, won gold medals in the 55 Plus Table Shuffleboard competition.
Linda Stevenson, of Camrose, and Fran Kelly, of Lacombe, won a bronze medal in 55 Plus Women’s Doubles in darts.