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Pickleball closes Manteca Senior Games today
Pickleball--Pic 1a
Brian Wold of Discovery Bay keeps his eye on the ball as he plays a shot during Saturday’s pickleball competition at the Manteca Senior Games. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL
The game has come a long way since it was first born in a barn in the Pacific Northwest and named after a pesky dog that kept taking the ball from the middle of the game.

But no matter how you slice it, pickleball is a game on the rise.

Dozens of seniors turned out Saturday for the first of two-days of competition at the Union Road Tennis Center to participate in a game that’s a little bit of tennis, a little bit of badminton, and a little bit of wiffleball. The men and women singles start today at 8 a.m. at the tennis center. The competition will closeout the 2010 Manteca Senior Games that started a week ago Saturday with a torch relay from del Webb at Woodbridge to the BMX track at Spreckels Avenue and Moffat Boulevard where the first competition took place.

Competitors like Ian Dickson from Granite Bay say that they like the game because of the tempo.

“It’s my first year here in Manteca after seeing the event posted on a pickleball site, so I brought my brother-in-law Russ Warren to come play with me,” Dickson said. “I like the long rallies and the fast tempo of the game. The tournament seems very well organized, and it’s something that I’d definitely come back to.”

According to Manteca Convention and Visitors Bureau Events Manager John Heath, Saturday’s games were reason enough for one family to drive down from Lake Tahoe in their RV for the two-days of competition.

And United States of America Pickleball Association Ambassador Bob Lyman was on hand to help Heath make sure that everything was on the up-and-up with a game that has become all the rage in senior communities like Sun City in Arizona and some Florida retirement communities.

“At my age, I play because of the court size is a bit smaller but it still allows you some movement in there without any really strenuous activity,” Lyman said. “I’d like to think that it helps my hand-eye coordination too, but that remains to be seen.”