In this issue...
From the Editors...
A New Beginning
Pickleball isn’t new and neither is USAPA, having been officially formed in 2005. But what is new is the ever-increasing number of outstanding players, the expanding number of places to play, the number of tournaments and the level of talent that is ever increasing. To echo the sentiments of Brookville, Indiana’s Rodney Grubbs, “Pickleball Rocks!”
This issue represents change and a new beginning for the newsletter as well. Irene Fraties, who for the past two years has done a more-than-outstanding job at producing the e-newsletter, has passed the reins to the next generation of newsletter volunteers. Her shoes are so difficult to fill that it is taking three people – publisher Jennifer Lucore, who handles design, layout and production, and the two of us, who are responsible for content and editing. So please send your newsletter submissions to us at email@example.com
Irene has been so punctual in publishing the newsletter that USAPA members didn’t need calendars – when the newsletter appeared in your inbox you knew that it was the first of the month. Thanks Irene for a job well done.
This issue is all about the third annual USAPA National Tournament – an overview feature, personal insights from participants and volunteers and some interesting facts that illustrate the magnitude of the event – plus Barb Wintroub’s Fitness
column and more. Enjoy and stay out of that kitchen…
Your Editors, Lynn & Linda Laymon
Pickleball's Greatest Show on Earth
The best of the best, and many of the rest. That was the 2011 USAPA National tournament where 419 of North America’s most talented pickleball players converged on Buckeye, Arizona for seven days of intense competition, camaraderie and courtside fun.
Held November 7 – 13, 2011 at the stunning Sun City Festival active adult community, this year’s National Tournament was a memorable event for participants and spectators alike. For the third year straight the tournament was an overwhelming success.
The annual USAPA National Tournament began in 2009 and has been hosted by Sun City Festival from the start. According to Fran Myer, co-director of the first National Tournament with her husband Barney and current USAPA Vice-president, “Sun City Festival has been such a gracious host and the facilities have served us well.” Continued below...
USAPA Nationals In Their Own Words...
For the second time my wife Janice and I made the trip west to Arizona. The long flight, travel, rental car, hotel... but all the work was worth it. The USAPA Nationals tournament is simply the best there is. Despite a day of rain and some wind, it ran perfectly. The level of play was just outstanding. When I was not playing, I had so many great matches to watch. I only wish I had 10 sets of eyes to watch them all. I really enjoy the feeling of comradeship that develops over the week we spend in that beautiful desert setting. People that I had not met on Monday were friends by Friday. And getting to watch those young kids (19 to 49) run and jump and hit and yell was a real treat. To sum it up, the USAPA National Pickleball Tournament just cannot be beat.
Jim, from The Villages in central Florida, played Men’s Doubles 65+ (Gold medal) and Mixed Doubles 60+.
My father, Ozzy Zaheer, and I participated in the 2011 USAPA National Tournament both as a doubles team and in singles. It was an incredible experience and we are both so happy that we played. I was deeply impressed with the USAPA for putting together such a wonderful event. The matches ran on time, the referees were excellent and the players were genuinely nice people. The competition was fierce, but what was even stronger was the collective sportsmanship and friendliness of the participants.
I was thrilled to see that our sport is rapidly growing. It brings more joy to more people. Of course, I am also very grateful to have this sport as an outlet to play with and against my father, too – even if he does dink me until I can't walk straight!
I applaud the USAPA, the players, the sponsors, the referees, and everyone else who made the tournament possible. We will surely be back in 2012.
Tarek, from Anacortes, Wash., played Men’s Singles 19+, Open Men’s Doubles and Open Men’s Singles.
I really enjoyed my time at Nationals. Playing outside in dry heat is just plain awesome compared to shivering in a cold gym back in Washington. I was impressed with the 60 and over men’s – some of these guys can really move well (which gives hope for me some 30 years from now). I enjoyed watching the different strategies going on in mixed doubles and was fascinated by the numerous dink-a-thons in men’s doubles; women’s doubles was short and furious.
I also enjoyed meeting new people and visiting with people I don’t see often. I’m still amazed that after the tournament day was over so many people came back out to play for fun later in the evening (isn’t 8 hours of tournament play enough? I was already half dead in bed). I guess that just shows the love that people have for the game and the friendly camaraderie among everyone – no other sport has something like this. I hope pickleball continues to grow and we have more tournaments like the Nationals.
Billy Jacobsen, from Lake Tapps, Wash., played Men’s Doubles 35+ (Gold medal), Opens Men’s Doubles (Gold medal), Open Mixed Doubles and Open Men’s Singles (Gold medal).
Cornelia “Corny” Dereemer
In March 2011 my partner and I met as pickleball opponents and were soon friends and regular partners. We are both competitive people by nature and enjoy many of the same activities. We played in our first tournament last June in Colorado, got a Silver medal and have been going non-stop since. I never dreamed I would enter Nationals, but there we were! The atmosphere is exhilarating and the level of play amazing. We won our first match in three games and eight hours and six matches later, we were on the podium with a Bronze. The Nationals medal felt great, but the people I met and the friends I made are what really matters.
Corny, from Horse Creek, Wyo., and Surprise, Ariz., played Women’s Doubles 60+ (Bronze medal), Open Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles 60+.
We've often heard the phrase, “It takes a village,” but when it comes to working the USAPA National tournament, it simply takes teamwork, a love of the game and a smile for the competitors. Bob & Jettye Lanius’s tournament management software does the rest – registration, check-in, score computing, bracket setting and match results; it is easy to learn and fun to use. Much praise has to go to the folks at the events desk for keeping the courts full of competitors and the referees straight. Our team has fun. We laugh and work hard, and at the end of the day we not only have helped our sport, we have spent the day with people who share a common interest and love of pickleball. You don't have to compete to have a great day at the USAPA National tournament.
Nikki, from Sun City Grand in Surprise, Ariz., worked as an events desk volunteer at Nationals.
Rodney “Rocket” Grubbs
Wow, wow and yes, WOW! I can’t think of a more appropriate way to describe the experience at my first USAPA National Pickleball Tournament. What a great week of fun, friendship and pickleball competition. My partner and I got our eyes opened immediately by dropping our first match. Apparently starting slow and continuing slow doesn’t get you far in a tournament like this. We did manage to come back and win our second match before bowing out much earlier than planned. In singles, I managed a bit better. It was all fun, but I believe the highlight of the week was the incredible bunch of new friends made along the way. I promise I will be back because PICKLEBALL ROCKS!!!
Rodney, from Brookville, Ind., played Men’s Doubles 55+, Men’s Singles 55+ and Open Men’s Doubles.