Downtown Detroit is home to some pretty prestigious athletes this week.
Athletes like Charles Miller and James Henderson are in town for the National Veterans Golden Age Games.
Military veterans from across the country gathered to compete in events like badminton and bocce ball, but many of them say their favorite parts are the moments between matches.
“You get to know people from the different states and you come back each year and see them and see the progress they’ve made,” says Miller.
“We’re a team, we’re family,” says Henderson.
“There’s a brotherhood/sisterhood aspect to being a veteran. We all compete against each other but we also want to see each other successful as well,” explains Local Organizing Committee Coordinator Adam Stevens.
Meeting new people and forming new relationships is a big part of the Games, but the thing that really draws the athletes out is the competition.
“It is competitive and everyone wants to win,” says Henderson.
Miller says he’s a bit more laid back. “I’m more of a competitor than a winner… And I love it.”
The Golden Age Games bring competition, camaraderie, and in a lot of cases it brings a form of healing.
‘I think it’s one of the most difficult things to measure, and that’s the mental health aspect of it,” says Stevens.
“There’s been a lot of trauma. Physical trauma. And mental trauma. And these games help bring some of that release out in a way that we feel togetherness,” explains Henderson.
To many participants, that togetherness is worth more than any medal.