Granite State Senior Games take flight
James Eddinger gives a pickleball lesson to Lorraine Nelson, from left, Shirley McQueeney and John Karavidas, all of Manchester, at the Derryfield Park in Manchester on July 20, 2010. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER FILE)
“Pickleball is the most popular event we run right now, so popular that we couldn’t take more than 110 applicants this summer,” said Jim Eddinger of Goffstown, chairman of the Games. Pickleball is a sport that combines tennis, table tennis and badminton. Using a regular tennis net, players serve a thick plastic Wiffle ball-type ball underhand with a wooden or aluminum paddle. Points can be obtained only by the server; the first player to reach 11 points wins the game.
“The number grew to 50 in 2012 to 74 last year to 109 this year. Pickleball will eventually surpass track and field in total participation because pickleball is really sweeping the nation,” said Eddinger. “Next year, we’ll have more sites for pickleball to allow more people to participate. Track and field will still remain strong. This year we have close to 140 participants for track.”
Senior players compete in their own age groups (50-54, 55-59; 60-64; 65-69; 70-74; 75-79; 80-plus) with a chance to qualify for the National Senior Games in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn., next July. Last year, 86 senior athletes represented New Hampshire at the national games.
Eddinger said “Folks can still sign up for golf, track and field, cycling, a 5K road race and tennis.”
Swimming events will begin Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at the Granite YMCA, 116 Goffstown Back Road in Goffstown.
Cycling will be held Sunday, Aug. 24 beginning at 9 a.m. This summer, cycling will offer 5K and 10K time trials. There’s also a 20K/40K race-within-a-race in which participants are timed at 20K and again at 40K. Cyclists must provide their own bicycles and helmets and can register right up to race day. The event starts at 915 Holt Ave. in Manchester.
It’s a certified 5K road race. Electronic timing will be used. Competitors in all age groups will run together. To enter and to qualify for the National Senior Games in 2015, runners must register with the Granite State Senior Games and must pick up their race numbers at the Granite State Senior Games tent site.
To register for the remaining events, one can go to http://www.nhseniorgames.org. For more information, call Eddinger at 533-6975 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.