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Jeff Harding: Hello and welcome to The Huntsman World Senior Game Active Life. My name is Jeff Harding. I'm sitting in for Kyle Case who is out of town today. Joining me in studio is Michelle Graves. Michelle, how are you?

Michelle Graves: I'm doing great. Thanks for having me. It's a pleasure to be here.

Jeff Harding: Another beautiful day in paradise.

Michelle Graves: It is. It is.

Jeff Harding: Michelle, I know that you exercise regularly. Have you ever wondered what the least amount of exercise you need to live longer is? The least amount of exercise you need to do. What the least amount of time you'd exercise to live long. Have you ever wondered what that is?

Michelle Graves: Oh, I hope it's like three minutes a day.

Jeff Harding: Well, I have the answer. It comes from an article by Emily DiNuzzo from Reader's Digest.

Michelle Graves: Okay.

Jeff Harding: All right. Here we go, "Exercise benefits such as lowering cholesterol or boosting your mood aren't anything you haven't heard before, but if you need even more workout motivation, know that just a few minutes of exercise a day could help you live longer. According to research published in the lancet, 15 minutes of exercise a day can boost life expectancy by three years and cut the risk of deaths from common causes like heart disease and cancer by 14%. That said, additional studies have found that other amounts of physical activity could add years to your life. Even 75 minutes of moderate exercise or walking per week improve life expectancy by 1.8 years, 300 minutes a week by 3.4 years, and 500 minutes a week by 5.4 years." Just 500 minutes a week and add four and a half years to life, Michelle.

Michelle Graves: Okay. You're really saying because I am a little bit of a cardio junkie.

Jeff Harding: Yes, you are.

Michelle Graves: If I just exercise nonstop, then I'm going to live forever.

Jeff Harding: Well, except that you lure your body our if you do that. It'll die from exhaustion.

Michelle Graves: Oh, okay. Well, let's keep that in mind then. I was really good when you were saying 15 minutes a day, but-

Jeff Harding: Well, I was encouraged by that too, because I know I get a little bit more than that.

Michelle Graves: Yeah. I do too. I was patting myself on the back, but the more the better. Is that-

Jeff Harding: Up to a point.

Michelle Graves: Up to a point.

Jeff Harding: We still have to live.

Michelle Graves: Okay. Well, that's a good point and make a living. I guess I have to do something else, but that's interesting. Thanks for sharing.

Jeff Harding: It is. It is. I think that that's something that's doable. What's exciting to me is, that's something what most people reach. Most people can do 15 minutes a day of something, walking or exercise a day to increase your life expectancy and reduce the risk of dying from certain diseases which is even better.

Michelle Graves: Yes. I'm a big proponent of all of that. Good.

Jeff Harding: Yes.

Michelle Graves: Good information, Jeff. Thank you.

Jeff Harding: Well, I know that our guest who is joining us in studio gets, probably, at least that much work a day, workout a day.

Michelle Graves: She gets cardio and she's-

Jeff Harding: She does.

Michelle Graves: She's quite-

Kariann Atkin: I'm a runner.

Jeff Harding: Joining us in studio is Kariann Atkin, one of our great sport directors and an athlete. She's a sport director for soccer. Kariann, welcome.

Kariann Atkin: Thanks for having me. I've never been before. I'm really excited. Last year, I made my husband come and he told me that that would be our last year together if I made him come again.

Michelle Graves: Oh.

Jeff Harding: To help with the games?

Kariann Atkin: No. To come to the radio show.

Michelle Graves: No. He came on the radio show.

Jeff Harding: Oh.

Kariann Atkin: He's a very shy, shy person.

Michelle Graves: I remember doing his radio interview. I was so impressed by what a great job he did because he is shy and-

Kariann Atkin: He's very shy.

Michelle Graves: I'm sure he's glad that you're taking his place today. We're glad to have you.

Jeff Harding: We actually invited Kariann to come. It was Kariann's invitation, not his.

Kariann Atkin: That's right.

Michelle Graves: Well, we have amazing sports directors ...

Jeff Harding: We do. We really do.

Michelle Graves: ... let me just say. We could really spend the whole year just interviewing our sports directors because they come with such adornments. They volunteer their time to put on these events for us. I'm excited to talk to Kariann and find out all of her great attributes.

Kariann Atkin: Thanks for having me.

Jeff Harding: Well, we're just glad to have you. How long have you been involved with The Huntsman World Senior Games, Kariann?

Kariann Atkin: I have been involved since the first year of soccer. I started out as an official for the games, the first year that women's soccer started.

Jeff Harding: That was about 10 years ago?

Kariann Atkin: About 10 years ago.

Jeff Harding: Yeah.

Kariann Atkin: Then I evolved into assigning the referees for the games and then was asked to be a co-director. I love the sport of soccer across the board; youth, adult, senior games, everything. I'm just really happy to be a part.

Jeff Harding: When did your sports career start?

Kariann Atkin: Well, my career in assigning referees and-

Jeff Harding: No, no, no. As a participant.

Kariann Atkin: Oh, as a participant. I was one of those original St. George City recreation sports participants as a child here in this area. I would say my career in playing sports, recreationally, would have been when I was five or six years old.

Jeff Harding: Which is cool. That's about when the AYSO, the Youth Soccer Leagues were just getting started and that kind of stuff. Did you start with soccer?

Kariann Atkin: Yes. I'm a soccer junkie.

Jeff Harding: Have you done any other sports beside soccer?

Kariann Atkin: I've officiated other sports. I've been an officiator for basketball, volleyball, and even baseball, but that was short-lived because baseball is very intense.

Jeff Harding: Well, it was intense being an official for any sport.

Michelle Graves: The sport or the spectators?

Kariann Atkin: The spectators and coaches for baseball in this area were a little much for me.

Jeff Harding: They are a bit-

Michelle Graves: That's saying something because I've seen you ref and you've got a tough skin. You definitely got the personality for it.

Kariann Atkin: I do.

Jeff Harding: Well, that's exciting. What was it that attracted you to soccer back when you were five or six years old?

Kariann Atkin: Well, I'm a runner at heart. I think you just are what you are from the very beginning. I love to run. When I was a little girl, that was really the sport that allowed you to be a runner. I started participating in that. It just never left me. My boys, my husband, all of us are very, very involved in soccer.

Jeff Harding: Very cool.

Michelle Graves: Which makes her the expert in this area ...

Jeff Harding: Well, it does.

Michelle Graves: ... which is another reason we are so pleased to get, really, the best of the best as our sports directors.

Kariann Atkin: Oh, thanks.

Jeff Harding: From both sides, to be an official, to understand from that side as well as a coach or director from that side, that makes a difference. It gives you a better perspective on what's going on and helps you be a little bit more objective in some of the things you're seeing and saying, probably, to the officials or as a tournament proceeds or progresses.

Kariann Atkin: I try to be really well-rounded. I learned that early on. I started as an official. I became a coach. I became a director. I became an assigner. Every other piece of the game that I can grab onto that gets offered to me, I take it because the more you know, the better you are.

Jeff Harding: I think that's very true.

Michelle Graves: I think that's true in life. Good words of wisdom.

Jeff Harding: Those are words for living by. The more pieces that you can grab or the puzzle that you can grab that help you understand and see, the better decisions you can make in any aspect of your life. I think that's very profound.

Kariann Atkin: Thank you.

Michelle Graves: I think it's fun. Kariann shared with me right before the show started that she was first to coach at like 12 years old.

Kariann Atkin: 12 years old, St. George City Rec.

Michelle Graves: Coach your brother's team.

Kariann Atkin: My eight-year-old sister.

Michelle Graves: Oh, sister's team.

Michelle Graves: Experience just all throughout your life, just really enjoying the sport of soccer. I think that it's fun that that carried over to your family and your adult life, because you're actually a very busy lady. You have a full-time job that's unrelated to soccer, but soccer is, in turn, also a full-time job because you are so impassioned by it and serve the community that way.

Kariann Atkin: Correct. Yes, I work full-time for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah. I work full-time for Utah Youth Soccer Association as an assigner besides my volunteer in other community work.

Jeff Harding: You've been cloned.

Kariann Atkin: I do. I work all day, and then I work all night. Soccer is my passion, but it doesn't support my lifestyle, so I do both.

Michelle Graves: Being in a non-profit sector, I think it says something about your personality as well. That's another really great aspect of what you do serving Big Brothers and Big Sisters. I have a soccer question. I just have to ask because I've always wondered this.

Jeff Harding: Well, then ask it.

Kariann Atkin: Okay.

Michelle Graves: What is the average mileage that a referee gets in a typical soccer game?

Kariann Atkin: If we're talking about an average 11V11 sided game, a full-sided game, it's four to seven miles a game.

Michelle Graves: Wow.

Kariann Atkin: Depending on the pace and the speed and-

Jeff Harding: Some used a speedometer out here or something and-

Kariann Atkin: If it's girls or boys, you're going to run, probably, a little bit less in a girl's game than a boy's game, but if you're talking about U14 boy's game, you're going to run about seven miles. That's why you have to be a runner at heart ...

Jeff Harding: I would say.

Kariann Atkin: ... to be a soccer player, to be a soccer officiant.

Michelle Graves: What's interesting to me, because my daughter is involved in some of these tournaments that go on and refs get a lot of their work though tournaments and other type of play is, I will see the same referees on the field for quite a long time. How many games does a typical referee manage during a day's tournament or something, because let's say with all that mileage together?

Kariann Atkin: Tournament referees do four to six games depending on their level and capabilities.

Michelle Graves: Wow.

Kariann Atkin: We run about a marathon a day during a tournament.

Michelle Graves: Okay. I wonder. That's really amazing.

Kariann Atkin: Yeah.

Michelle Graves: Good way to stay in shape.

Jeff Harding: That's impressive. That's really impressive. Yeah.

Michelle Graves: I think I need a part-time job.

Jeff Harding: I don't know if you're aware, Michelle, but we had a study done by one of our former health directors who does body age screenings. She'll test your body and find out what you're actual body age versus your chronological age. You might be 60 years old but you might have a body of a 50-year-old or a body of a 70-year-old who have taken care of it.

Michelle Graves: Okay.

Jeff Harding: She want to know which of all of our athletes had the youngest body age versus chronological age. Can you guess what sport it was?

Michelle Graves: I'm thinking it must be soccer.

Jeff Harding: It was soccer.

Michelle Graves: Wow.

Kariann Atkin: I remember you telling me that. I thought that was fantastic information.

Michelle Graves: Yeah.

Jeff Harding: Well, from what you're saying, we can see why.

Kariann Atkin: Yeah.

Jeff Harding: Whether you're a referee or whether you're a participant, you're running a lot.

Kariann Atkin: Yeah.

Jeff Harding: Because the referees don't always make it all the way up and down the field in the time that the players are going up and back. The players are running at least or more than the referee is.

Kariann Atkin: Not necessarily because there are formations on the field.

Jeff Harding: That's true. That's true.

Kariann Atkin: You have your forwards that stay forward and your defenders that stay back, and the referee has to run an in between that. They probably run a similar amount just because they have quadrants that they stay in.

Jeff Harding: Yeah. The athletes run laterally across the field where the referee usually just stays fairly in linear does he or she. The ones I've watched, they tend to stay somewhat linear in their positioning.

Kariann Atkin: We're supposed to go corner to corner. The very best trajectory for the game ...

Jeff Harding: Diagonally?

Kariann Atkin: ... is corner to corner. Yes.

Jeff Harding: Very interesting. If you're just joining us, you're listening to The Huntsman World Senior Games Active Life. We're visiting with Kariann Atkin, soccer director for The Huntsman World Senior Games, but also soccer aficionado.

Kariann Atkin: Hello. It's true.

Jeff Harding: We're learning a lot about soccer. I have to be honest, I grew up before the soccer craze hit. I never played youth soccer. My first experience with soccer was when my daughter was eight or nine years old and they couldn't find anybody to be the coach of the team she was on. They asked me to do it and I said, I would. I went to a clinic to learn how to coach. I was successful on creating bumblebee soccer, which is like a pack of bumblebees following the ball around and that was successful.

Kariann Atkin: I loved that. When my boys were little, I loved that.

Jeff Harding: We had units in junior high school and high school and gym class where we played soccer, but it was nowhere near like what the kids are experiencing because it was just the coach saying, "Okay, guys, go and play soccer. Here are the basic rules." We didn't even know if we were doing it right.

Kariann Atkin: Even I can tell you in the United States and Utah, in particular, because I have really good statistics on that, in the last 10 years, we have increased by six to 800% in enrollment of participants in soccer across the board. When I first began assigning referees here in Southern Utah, we had about 200 games a season. We now run 700 games a season.

Jeff Harding: Wow.

Kariann Atkin: We had one tournament in this area. We now have upwards of eight tournaments in this area. The increase has been monumental in the last 10 years.

Jeff Harding: Well, I think the concern over concussion in other sports especially contact sports has driven people especially the younger kids towards the supposed non-contact soccer.

Kariann Atkin: Soccer is a contact sport.

Michelle Graves: Yes. We do see concussions.

Kariann Atkin: I tell everyone that. I tell parents at very young age, when they get upset about children being knocked around, I tell them, "This is a contact sport. If it's not something you're interested in, you need to be a tennis player or a swimmer."

Jeff Harding: Or the person on the other side of the net or in the next lane, huh?

Kariann Atkin: That's right.

Michelle Graves: That's a good point.

Kariann Atkin: Because I don't want people to be confused that soccer is not a contact sport because we are.

Jeff Harding: It's just not a contact sport. We're running up coming hit at each other.

Kariann Atkin: That's true.

Jeff Harding: You're running alongside each other knocking each other over but-

Kariann Atkin: That's true.

Michelle Graves: Well, you can get a concussion from hitting the ball.

Jeff Harding: That's true.

Michelle Graves: There really is concern ...

Jeff Harding: That's true.

Michelle Graves: ... over concussion and in all sports but in soccer included.

Kariann Atkin: We do have a significant concussion protocol for referees, assigners, coaches, parents. It is a concern, I think, in every sport.

Jeff Harding: Well, I want to move from the youth soccer to the games soccer.

Michelle Graves: I do too because I was thinking when Kariann was giving us those numbers about how much youth soccer has increased, I was just thinking about, in the last few years, how much our soccer at The Huntsman World Senior Games has increased.

Jeff Harding: That's right.

Michelle Graves: That always and most definitely has to do with running a great tournament and having the right directors in place, but we've really grown. Let's talk about-

Kariann Atkin: We've grown a ton. It's really exciting. I actually love being part of the game since the beginning of soccer because it's like a family reunion. We have the same teams that come back year after year, but we've seen a huge increase in the last three years. Whereas, we started out with six or eight teams, we now have 30 teams.

Jeff Harding: Right.

Kariann Atkin: Every single team that participated last year returned ...

Jeff Harding: That's says a lot.

Kariann Atkin: ... and we added several teams to our pool this year. I can't wait. I can't wait to see all of those ladies again. Because every year, I look forward to seeing them. They're family to me.

Jeff Harding: That says a lot about the quality of the tournament. If people want to come back, it's because they had a great experience and you're part of that experience. Whether it was back in the old days when you're signing officials, getting the right officials in so that they can have a good experience to running the event, you can pat yourself on the back along with the other directors for the growth in the tournament.

Kariann Atkin: Well, I think that's partially education from Huntsman World Senior Games. Your games are very good at being athlete oriented and listening to what they say, changing some of even the rules or maybe the venues in order to accommodate athletes to the very best of our ability. I really appreciate that. I appreciate this support to be able to make changes, to make the games better so that those athletes will return and the ability to have some autonomy to listen to them and to be able to make changes that benefit the sport that I'm working with and I'm sure that that is across the board.

Jeff Harding: I remember when we were bringing soccer on, there was even a discussion on the size of the field and the number of players. We go 8V8 don't we?

Kariann Atkin: We do.

Jeff Harding: That's not 11V11. That's 8V8. The field is a little bit smaller, but all the little details we had to discuss, so we had to talk to the athletes and the people or the directors to find out what's going to make the best tournament, the best experience for the people in our demographic.

Kariann Atkin: Yeah. We've tried a few things that failed miserably. We've come back again and changed them around in order to make them positive, but some of those things you don't know ...

Jeff Harding: No.

Kariann Atkin: ... until you try them. The athletes are willing to try them and we're willing to try them, and the games are supportive of those things. When it doesn't work, we come together and figure out how to change it. It's been a really good experience.

Jeff Harding: Well, you gave the games a compliment, but I just want to pass a comment back to you and the rest of the directors of women's soccer, you do a great job. Now, it's ironically, we only have women's soccer because we haven't been able to get enough men's soccer teams here to make a tournament, but I think that's changing because we're getting more and more call for men's teams.

Kariann Atkin: That's good. I can't wait.

Jeff Harding: We'll probably be able to go with the full fledged male and female tournament.

Kariann Atkin: I'm excited for that. I anticipate that being true really quickly because we are coming up on my generation where we're going to be old enough to participate and our generation grew up playing.

Jeff Harding: Right.

Kariann Atkin: We're going to continue to play. I can't wait to see how that grows over the next few years.

Michelle Graves: I think that that's really fun. I agree that those women that come to those tournaments are really a fun group of ladies, but they're also a really fit group of ladies. I think that what we find as we get older, because I grew up playing soccer is that, you might not have the cardiovascular strength to run the full field and run a whole thing, but these ladies, not me, because I don't practice, but they still have like a really strong skillset.

Kariann Atkin: You do.

Michelle Graves: You comprise it to a little bit shorter field. It is really fun soccer to watch because they really have some great skill.

Kariann Atkin: They do.

Jeff Harding: The Energizer bunny has nothing on these ladies.

Kariann Atkin: That's true, but they do know how to play.

Michelle Graves: They don't use that.

Kariann Atkin: They do make really good connections as they move up the field. They talk a lot, which is really important in the game. They do a lot of things to help themselves out.

Jeff Harding: We find that across the board in our sports. Yes, we're older. Yes, we've probably lost a half a step over the years, but what we've lost in maybe a little of a speed, we make up in court savvy or in game savvy, sport savvy. We're better athletes all around even though we may not be quite as fast as we once were.

Kariann Atkin: Yeah.

Michelle Graves: They really are. Kariann and I, in the City, we help to run the Split Saw League. I was always amazed because we'd get college aged teams and we'd get 50 plus year old teams.

Kariann Atkin: Right.

Michelle Graves: You put them on a smaller field together and really, there's equilibrium because those college kids don't have the foot skills that these older athletes have. The elder athletes may not be able to run quite as fast as these college kids and it really equals the playing field and makes for some fun, fun soccer to watch.

Kariann Atkin: It does. The older teams have learned how to play together ...

Jeff Harding: True.

Kariann Atkin: ... and who can do what in order to progress the game. Whereas, the college kids have one star athlete. If you can shut down that athlete, you can easily beat them.

Michelle Graves: That's a really good point too. Really, we need to get the younger kids in the community over to watch some of these women play because they could learn a lot. It's fun soccer.

Jeff Harding: Well, I think you're going to take some younger ball shaggers if they want to come and help.

Kariann Atkin: I would love it. This year, we are over fall break. If anyone out there is interested including teams, youth teams, teams from high schools that would be interested in coming out and spending a few hours and seeing these ladies play, I think, you could really benefit from it. I think you'd enjoy it. They really appreciate it. You'll build a relationship with them because they appreciate you helping them and they'll talk to you, they're interested in you.

Jeff Harding: Sure.

Kariann Atkin: I think you'd have a great time.

Jeff Harding: Kariann, I have a question for you. Do you have any memories over the last 10 or so years that really stand out from The Huntsman World Senior Games of something was just really special or really meaningful to you from the soccer?

Kariann Atkin: I have so many memories, but I have one woman in particular that comes every year. She will play on any team. She doesn't necessarily have a specific team. She just plays for any team that will pick her up. She loves to play. She loves the game. I love to watch her because she comes here just to be a part of the games, not with a specific team. Because a lot of people come with their team and it's their friends. They come and spend the week together, but she just loves the game. I love being around her. I love to spend time with her. I love to watch her. She invites me to her games. She'll tell me when and where she's playing so that I can come.

Jeff Harding: Oh, cool.

Kariann Atkin: I really appreciate that. I appreciate her love of the game because it is similar to mine. I just love the game.

Jeff Harding: Kind of a kindred spirit.

Kariann Atkin: Yeah.

Jeff Harding: Well, do you have any favorite experiences with the games outside of soccer? We have opening ceremonies. We have lots of different things going on. Do you have a favorite memory of the games outside of soccer?

Kariann Atkin: Yes. I am a huge softball fan.

Jeff Harding: Oh, wow.

Kariann Atkin: I have never played, but I love it. A few years ago, I volunteered out at the men's softball tournament. I loved watching the games, but I also was helping with medical and injuries. It was very interesting for me to see the injuries that can happen that you don't expect because of it being a senior games, but how friendly all of those participants were and how much I got to know them just sitting and putting a band-aid on them or wrapping their ankle with some tape. I really enjoyed that experience. If I had more time in my life, I would love to come and spend the whole week at softball and just enjoy that experience again. Some day, that's going to come back around for me. I'm going to volunteer myself to be part of softball too.

Jeff Harding: Wow. That's amazing. This should epitomize what The Huntsman World Senior Games is all about.

Michelle Graves: I was thinking about that, like friendship. That truly is what the common core is. It's that we just have these amazing people from all over the world. It just feels like our own community of friends. From our directors who are so friendly to every athlete that you meet. It really is its own utopia in terms of what the world should be like.

Jeff Harding: Yeah. Kariann, we're running out of time. In the next minute or so, tell us, if you're talking to somebody who is sitting on the couch who is not sure if they want to get active or not, what would you tell them to encourage them to become more active?

Kariann Atkin: I would say, get on the games website and see all of the opportunities that are there. Look at all of the sports that are listed and where you could become involved even if that's just volunteering where you can be around the sport and learn a little bit about it and participate in a volunteer way. Learn what you can do in order to become an athlete of that sport and just show up and be a part. It's only going to take you a minute before you want to be a volunteer everywhere and you want to participate. Because I'm just waiting for my 50th birthday so that I can sign up and participate myself. I'm a runner and I'm a slow runner. I'm not going to ever be the winner, but I just want to be a part of it.

Jeff Harding: It's not about winning, is it?

Kariann Atkin: I wold just encourage everybody to find something that they care about and show up.

Jeff Harding: That's great.

Michelle Graves: Participating is winning.

Jeff Harding: That's true.

Michelle Graves: I love that.

Jeff Harding: That's great. There's so much to that. Kariann, thank you so much. You've been a delightful guest.

Kariann Atkin: You bet.

Jeff Harding: This was your first time on radio.

Kariann Atkin: No.

Jeff Harding: Oh.

Kariann Atkin: A couple-

Michelle Graves: First time with us.

Kariann Atkin: First time with you guys.

Jeff Harding: First time with us.

Kariann Atkin: I have been here a few times.

Jeff Harding: Okay. Great. Well, Michelle, gosh.

Michelle Graves: The time is ticking.

Jeff Harding: It is. Yes. We're getting right down to it. I would encourage anybody to start thinking about to go out and sign up. Go to the website and sign up for the sport of their choice.

Michelle Graves: Yeah. Tell us the website.

Jeff Harding: It's with the big smile on your face.

Michelle Graves: It is. Time is ticking because you only have until September 1st to register.

Jeff Harding: Right.

Michelle Graves: We are looking for thousands of volunteers right now. We want to encourage that as well.

Jeff Harding: Yeah. Well, we'd like to thank everybody for joining us today. We'd invite you to join us each and every Thursday at 5:30 p.m. for The Huntsman World Senior Games Active Life on St. George News Radio 1450 a.m. You can also listen to this or any of our other shows at You can subscribe to our podcast. Just search for Huntsman World Senior Games in your Google Play Store or iTunes and subscribe. You won't miss a single episode, and who would want to. This is good stuff.

Michelle Graves: Absolutely.

Jeff Harding: You see people like Kariann.

Kariann Atkin: Thanks for having me.

Jeff Harding: 2018 is flying by as of this point and we have over 9,800 registered participants to sports bowling and pick a ball have reached a participation caps. We also have capacity of softball, volleyball, and soccer teams and other events are getting close to capacity as well. What does this mean? Well, time to register. Right now, today, don't delay. If you have any comments or questions or feedback for our show, we'd love to hear from you. Just send an email to Our quote for the day is, "You're never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream." That's by CS Lewis.

Michelle Graves: Beautiful.

Jeff Harding: Thanks everyone and have a great day.

Michelle Graves: See you, Jeff.

Jeff Harding: Bye.