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OCBC Hosts Pickleball Tournament

The Orange County Buddhist Church held its first pickleball tournament — and it was a resounding success, attracting about 100 people in doubles and mixed doubles.


The tournament, held over the Thanksgiving weekend in 2022, was the idea of Sangha member Carol Sakamoto, who came up with the suggestion of holding a fun tournament and raising funds for OCBC.


The tournament and OCBC pickleball has also had other positive impacts. It has brought back families to OCBC, led to an increase in memberships, and created more opportunities for people to experience and appreciate the Dharma.


Pickleball was already a popular exercise activity geared toward OCBC’s senior temple members before the pandemic. Ryan Onishi, an avid pickleball participant, began the group because he wanted to introduce the sport he loves to his father and other seniors, according to OCBC Sangha member Jeff Sakamoto, husband of Carol Sakamoto.


“Carol and I started playing the sport during the pandemic and quickly got hooked because it was a great way to get outside for some fun exercise,” Jeff Sakamoto said. “Earlier this year, we started a weekend pickleball program at OCBC as many of us couldn’t attend the weekday sessions. To our surprise, there was overwhelming interest from the OCBC Sangha and we now have a roster of over 125 members from beginners to advanced players. During the summer, we often had pickleball weekend sessions that ran for six hours, covering all levels of play.”


“We received a lot of comments of how much fun people had reconnecting with friends they haven’t seen in years,” he said. “In that sense, I think the objective of having a ‘fun’ tournament was achieved. With participants generously buying raffle tickets and meal tickets, we also achieved the goal of raising funds for OCBC.”

Because of the success of our first tournament, the group is already discussing having a tournament in the summer.


The OCBC pickleball tournament organizers would like to thank the tournament committee and the many volunteers for the event’s success.


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