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GOINGS ON / SANTA BARBARA : The Sporting Life : Tennis, racquetball and a 10-K race will draw wheelchair athletes to the weekend competition.


Having grown up with five brothers, it's not surprising that Ventura's Ron Herrera played some softball, football and other sports. Of course, growing up in a wheelchair meant that he had to improvise a little.

"When we'd play football, I'd be the quarterback for both teams. The rules were that they couldn't knock me down, but I'd have to throw the ball in a certain amount of seconds," said Herrera, who was born with spina bifida, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. When he and his siblings played softball, Herrera said, he usually was the pitcher. And in other games, he was given a few advantage points at the start.

In keeping with his lifelong love of sports, Herrera will compete in the tennis portion of the 11th annual Wheelchair Sports Festival, which will take place Friday through Sunday in Santa Barbara. Herrera said he plays tennis for the same reasons most other people do: It is healthy and fun.

"We've got some extra equipment to deal with," said Herrera, who has been looking through issues of Sports and Spokes magazine trying to find the best model wheelchair specifically made for playing tennis. "But all in all, we're not that different from anyone else that plays the game."

In fact, Herrera stressed, disabled people aren't that different from anyone playing the game of life either.

"One of the hardest things about being handicapped is that sometimes you feel shunned, like you're not a part of the human race," he said. "Some people are uncomfortable talking to you so they'll just ignore you. I'd rather that someone stare and ask questions than be polite and not talk."

Entries are no longer being accepted for the tennis tournament, which will be held at the Pershing Park Tennis Courts, 100 E. Castillo St., and at the Municipal Tennis Courts, 1414 Park Place.

But people can sign up until the last minute for Friday's racquetball contest at the Santa Barbara YMCA, 36 Hitchcock Way, and for Saturday's 10-K road race, which will begin about 8 a.m. at Chase Palm Park on East Cabrillo Boulevard. To sign up in advance or for information about any of the events, call 962-1474.

"Entre Mundos/Between Worlds," an exhibit of computer-generated art created by Spanish-speaking and bilingual students at Santa Barbara High School, will be on display at the Contemporary Arts Forum through June 13.

Using a word-processing program and a graphics program, students juxtaposed poetry, prose and artwork to make a statement about living between two worlds: between childhood and adulthood, between their native lands and American culture, and between the time of the printed word and the computer age.

Many of the students grew up in poor towns and most didn't even have a television, said Carlos Demangate, their instructor. Now they're on the verge of adulthood, "living in Santa Barbara and working with computer technology," he said. "They really are living between worlds.

CAF is at 653 Paseo Nuevo. Admission to the show is free. For information, call 966-5373.

Tonight at the Center Stage Theater, Dick Dunlap--musician, composer, instrument inventor and visual artist--will combine visual projections with sounds for his multimedia performance "History of Animals." Tickets for the 8 p.m. show are $8. The theater is at 751 Paseo Nuevo. Call 963-0408.

And on Saturday at Center Stage, composer-cornetist Bobby Bradford and his quintet will perform the last concert of the Jazz at Center Stage series, beginning at 8 p.m. A "Meet the Composer" discussion with Bradford will be held at 7 p.m. Tickets are $18.50. For information, call 962-3575.

UC Santa Barbara's Young Artists String Quartet will play at 8 tonight at the university's Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall. Ronald Leonard, principal cellist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic since 1975, will be guest artist. Then on Friday at Lotte Lehmann, the University Symphony will perform at 8 p.m. Featured pianist will be Alex Slobobyanik, a Russian emigre who at age 16 was the youngest person ever to win New York's 1990 Young Concert Auditions. Tickets for each show are $8. Call 893-3535.

Live, computer-generated and taped music will be combined at Santa Barbara City College's annual "Sonic Sequences Concert" at 8 p.m. Friday. Creative lighting designed by a theater arts class will accompany the music. Tickets are $6. The college is at 721 Cliff Drive. For information, call 965-0581.

"Oasis," an exhibit of paintings by 25 Santa Barbara-area artists who support the California Desert Protection Act, will close its Santa Barbara City College show Wednesday. The free exhibit, which was on display at the U. S. Senate Building in Washington in March, may be viewed from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays at the college's Gourmet Dining Room. For information, call 965-0581.

And in case you haven't had the chance to see the Santa Barbara Civic Light Opera production of "Fiddler on the Roof," the company has extended its run at the Lobero Theatre through June 14. For information, call the Lobero box office at 963-0761.

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