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The Press Enterprise (Riverside, CA)
Bob Dressler of Corona never played basketball on a team in high school or college.
But he's been playing in leagues and pick-up games ever since, and at age 60, he won his first championship in a local league "for old guys."
At 63, he's not about to stop playing — not as long as he can keep going.
"I just love basketball," said Dressler, who works in food sales. "I have an addiction. It's my heroin, so to speak."
What's making that possible is a fledgling over-40 basketball league that was started in Corona by guys who want to stay fit and keep playing the sport they love.
The Kings Court Over-40 League, which features 4-on-4 half-court basketball, is wrapping up its first season with four teams that include the Old Men and Non-Millenials. Playoffs begin Jan. 31.
It's in search of more players to start the second season next month.
The league is open to female players, though currently the teams are all male. Revised rules are basic and include allowing seven fouls per player.
A different over-30 league has six teams playing regular 5-on-5 full-court games on Tuesday nights. That league, which started three years ago, quickly got too good for those in the "Over-
40" league, whose players are actually mostly over 50, said league co-organizer Jeff Nelson, 55, of Corona.
"We wanted to get as many guys playing as possible in a half-court game," Nelson said. "The regular full-court, 5-on-5 was just too fast for most of us."
The over-40 league plays at 7 p.m. Wednesday nights at the Corona Civic Center, 815 W. Sixth St.
A few of the guys played basketball in high school or college, but most of the 25 current players have simply been playing pickup basketball at Corona Middle School, now known as Corona Fundamental Intermediate School, for at least 20 years.
Oscar Ruiz, who is "39 and a half," was allowed into the league to make sure there were enough players.
"Because of Oscar's gray hair and bad knees, he was accepted into the league as one of us," Nelson said in an email.
The competitive league helps drive some players to stay in shape and others to get back in shape, added Nelson, who does marketing for Citrus Valley Medical Associates and named his team "Mighty Docs."
Organizers hope the league inspires others over 40, 50 and 60 and beyond to remain active and healthy.
"It is all about the exercise and just trying to get the cardio to stay healthy for the big picture," he said.
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