Holy Cow, what a month! This update will be restricted to filling you in on the recent past. We have even more stuff we’re talking about for the rest of the summer (and winter!) season(s), but because I get so wordy I’m going to do this recap as one piece, give you a rest for a few days, and then give you the future stuff as I know it.
- FMCA Demo and Exhibition
August 13, ten of your local USAPA Ambassadors and a few other folks conducted a demo and exhibition at the just-over FMCA Rally at the Redmond Fairgrounds. It was a big success! In two two-hour sessions we got approximately 150 people introduced to pickleball and most of them on the courts hitting the ball. The Racquet Shoppe was represented there as well, selling paddles, equipment and miscellany, and we even sold a couple of the new 2014 Bend Pickleball Tournament shirts. Our main sponsor, Big Country RV, was prominent at the Rally and we had their signs and such up as well. It was great. Thanks to all the Ambassadors and our other friends who helped so much with setup, conducting of the event, and takedown. Big fun!
- Grand Opening Ceremony
August 14. Bend Parks and Recreation helped us organize and run a terrific Grand Opening Ceremony at the Pine Nursery Community Pickleball Courts. Features included addresses by Don Horton, Executive Director of Bend Parks and Recreation, as well as BPRD Board members and BPC folks. We then officially cut the ribbon to court number one, had BPRD and BPC folks on the court to hit out the ceremonial first ball (which actually turned into a pretty good little rally!) and we then ate dessert first…..cookies and lemonade for all! Again, Big Fun!
- Annual Meet and Greet
August 14 (evening). Our Annual Meet and Greet, held the evening before our Big Country RV Bend Pickleball Tournament, is always fun, and this year was made even more so. We, the flash mob of sports, took over the whole restaurant! Si Senor’s is the new Baltazar restaurant with terrific Mexican-style seafood cuisine. While all 115 participants seemed to show up at once, which made the initial wait for the buffet a little agonizing considering the wonderful food smells, we all enjoyed the cuisine, good service, and the three-piece ensemble that played throughout dinner. The full bar didn’t hurt anybody’s mood, either.
- The Big Country RV Bend Pickleball Tournament
August 15-17 (all day, every day). You know how it takes a village to raise a child? It takes an army to run a tournament….a volunteer army! And when the tournament is as big as ours is getting to be, it’s nice when the army recruits a few more troops, and this year we had them. Our volunteer staff was over 60 and many of you worked all day. It’s hard to thank you enough for all the work you put in!
This tournament began with a difficulty, to put in mildly, but one that may have a happy outcome. Our friend and fellow tournament player Ron Greene suffered a heart attack during warm-up before the first match. Through God’s grace and the efforts of trained volunteers such as Lee Moore, who began mouth-to=mouth almost immediately, and several others, by the time the Paramedics arrived he was still with us. Dr. Chris Kelly, our fellow member and himself an emergency-room doctor with great experience, called the whole event, including Ron’s beginnings of his recovery, humbling, and as he says, “I would trade all of my medals for a save like this one!”…and so would we all, I’m sure. Best news of all? We just heard from Ron and he is on his way back home to Newport and is looking forward to playing again soon! Yes!
I could go on and on…the tournament was awesome, and vendors, sponsors, and the weather all helped make it about perfect. But how about some statistics?
In 2012, we had 96 players
In 2013, we had 174 players
In 2014 we had 200 (exactly) players-with registrations having closed 6 weeks early
Of these 200, we had 92 women and 108 men playing 336 matches across 30 brackets.
Registrations closed early because we were full! Eight courts can only hold so many folks. But next year, given that we can be even more efficient with our then-sixteen courts, we will be able to accommodate approximately 425 players…and I, for one, believe that we’ll have that number of folks turn up. Wow….we’ve come a long way, baby.
Thank you, Karen Fellows, for all you did to make this tournament hum. You are a great tournament director, we’re sorry to lose you to the task, but we are happy that you found Anne Reynolds to replace you…..you rock, and she will rock as well!
- The Bob and Bev Youngren Clinics
August 18 (all day). Bob and Bev ran both a morning and an afternoon session. They were both full, and nearly 100 people had the experience of some truly professional help from these two consummate professionals. Personally, I loved this clinic. I got three things out of it that I intend to practice until I can accomplish them with ease. I believe they will make me a better player. And Bob and Bev were and are great fun; we enjoyed them both immensely.
All the above is only the “major” events. I have not even mentioned the various training classes, mentoring sessions, round-robins and all the other experiences during the last thirty days…and really, I should (and, I guess, have!). Thanks to all of you who made all of those work for our members.
Almost lastly, it’s important that we recognize the contributions of a certain “Captain Kirk” Foster, who has done so much to make our website the envy of many a pickleball club. One of his many skills has been providing more and more on-line capability for signups, for brief surveys, and now we have just moved into beginning use of a “members only” section. This will be responsible for notifying you when your dues are payable, gives you on-line payment capability, allows you to provide an enhanced profile so other members can know something about you if you wish and can learn how to contact you for games, and more. Thanks for your tireless work, Captain, and we look forward to what comes next.
And lastly, congrats to those of you who have or soon will be rated upwards by the USAPA Regional Ratings Committee because of your tournament performance. Perry Atkinson and my buddy Lee Moore both worked very hard to become tournament-rated 4.5s and they both consistently exhibit the sportsmanship we think is important to display on and off the courts.
Whew! Enough! In a few days I’ll get you caught up with what’s next, but for now, have a great day, and great pickling!