(Cheryl A. Guerrero/Staff…)
Simply stated, there may not be a regional competition with more diversity and importance in senior athletics than the ongoing 20th annual Pasadena Senior Games, which began Tuesday in Oceanside and extends until July 1.
It’s estimated that more than 1,500 competitors, ages 50 and up, will compete in 26 events spread throughout the Southland, but mainly involving participants from Los Angeles County.
The Pasadena Senior Center will serve as the official host of the event founded two decades ago by Cynthia Rosedale, the Senior Olympic Director.
“This is not a restrictive event, we want to get as many seniors involved and active in these games as possible,” Rosedale said. “I just had a guy call me from Chicago and say he was coming down. Yet, it’s safe to say that most athletes will becoming from Southern California, although we’ll get a few from Arizona, Oregon and other places.”
The venues for the month-long games are also diverse, with men’s and women’s softball taking place at Rancho Santa Susanna Park in Simi Valley, swimming going on at the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center, shuffleboard set for the Highland Park Shuffleboard Club and horseshoes happening at the Burbank Horseshoe Club.
Perhaps the venue that Rosedale is most excited about is El Dorado Park in Long Beach, site of this year’s cycling competition taking place Tuesday and Wednesday.
“The city of Long Beach is a great sponsor and they’ve actually shut down a whole part of the park, which is great since we won’t have to worry about distractions,” Rosedale said. “They’re giving us two days and we couldn’t be more appreciative of that.”
The games’ first event was pickleball, a mesh between tennis and badminton, that started Tuesday at the Melba Bishop Pickleball Center in Oceanside.
What makes the pickleball competition unique this season is that its results, along with those from cycling and shuffleboard, will be used in determining qualifiers to the 2013 National Senior Games in Cleveland.
“The competition in those events should be pretty good,” Rosedale said. “But, I think every event is going to be entertaining.”
Harry Bobbitt, a 65-year-old resident of unincorporated Pasadena, is slated to compete in golf at Brookside Golf Course in Monday’s event at noon.
Bobbitt, who marshals the course, says he plays at Brookside “no more than twice a week” and is expecting to do well.
“Everybody plays even, there’s no special handicap, so my anticipation is to place fourth or better,” said Bobbitt, whose 80 at CordeValle Golf Course in San Martin won him the 60-64 age-range championship at the Bay Area Senior Games in March. “But you never know with golf, it’s a merciless game.”
Upcoming events on June 9 include women’s volleyball at Cal State Los Angeles, beginning at 9 a.m., doubles and mixed tennis at Pasadena High at 9 and billiards at Fantasia in Burbank, starting at 10.
Other than the aforementioned events, there is also basketball, bowling, disc golf, extreme strength and fitness, feats of strength, lawn bowling, power lifting, push ups, racquetball, soccer, swimming, table tennis and a five-kilometer walk, while the closing ceremonial BBQ is set for June 24 at Brookside Park.
A full schedule can be found at www.pasadenaseniorcenter.org.
Admission to the event is free.