Scoop It Up 

Play lacrosse, meet people

SUN 1/4

They say lacrosse is the oldest American sport (an ancient favorite among Native Americans in the Northeast), and its popularity is growing rapidly on the West Coast. Curious? Thanks to Ron Olivarez, you can learn the basics of this fast-paced and exciting game while having fun and meeting new people. Olivarez, who played lacrosse for Cal State Hayward, doesn't call these (you'll excuse the expression) pick-up games a "league," but "sessions" -- because he is teaching fundamentals and providing a beginners' game. According to him, this is the only beginners' lacrosse around, and he sees the sessions as more a chance to "goof off" than as a "boot camp" -- but it's still a great way of getting in shape. And lest you are in doubt, know that lacrosse is posh: about 75 percent of lacrosse players and/or fans have an annual income of $50,000 or more, says the sport's official American Web site, (you need to register to view it). To join, just grab a stick and turn up at the CSUH's University Stadium infield (25800 Carlos Bee Blvd., Hayward) at 3 p.m. any Sunday. There are no latecomers, as Ron will repeat the basics of throwing, catching, and scooping. But you might want to gather as much protective gear as possible, 'cause this game is not for sissies -- gloves and mouth guards are advised. Contact Ron at for info. -- Amrita Sidhu

THU 1/1

No Hangovers

The Diablo is in the details

Face it. You don't really enjoy being in a noisy room full of strangers, slugging down cheap champagne and forcing yourself to be deliriously happy at the prospect of a presidential election year coming into view. Nope. Your idea of New Year's Day is to rise just before dawn, drink half a cup of green tea and eat an apple, then rally at 8:30 a.m. at the Mitchell Canyon Staging Area at the south end of Mitchell Canyon Road in Clayton, for Every Which Way to the Top, Part 2 -- a hike to the summit of Mount Diablo. What a great way to start the year. Team leader Diane Smith plans to follow Back Creek and Bald Ridge trails to the top. Bring food to share at the posthike potluck. If it's raining, fuhgeddaboudit. Contact her at 925-803-1478 or -- Kelly Vance


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