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                        MID-SOUTH REGION




                               March, 2018




We have six newly appointed ambassadors to introduce this month:  David & Kay Redding (Searcy, AR), Don Reed (Gentry, AR), Neil Conklin (Frisco, TX), Yvonne Mansour (Buda, TX), and Benjamin Paquette (Addison, TX).


David & Kay have been playing about 5 & 3 ½ years respectively.  They have either conducted or helped with numerous clinics or lessons at various venues in AR, CO, and TX.  They have reffed at several regional/national/state events as well.  This personable couple plan to continue to promote and bring PB to more locations near their area.

 Don has been playing over three years.  He has been working with about ten people in Siloam Springs and has brought several of them to an intermediate level.  Don wants too get a regular playing venue established in SS.  He is also working with the AD at John Brown Univ. and they have approved the purchase of nets and have temporary striping down in one of their gyms.  Negotiating is going on to establish a regular playing schedule since the facility is used by both the university and the public.  (Looks like things are headed in the right direction, Don).


Neil has been playing a little over a year.  He has been helping newbies with rules, techniques, and strategies whenever possible.  He wishes to find 2 or 3 locations to play PB in his area with specific times for the various demographics of players such as young singles, young families, middle age/empty nesters, and active seniors/retirees.  Lastly, Neil would love to find an investor/s to develop a new facility along the lines of Chicken Pickle in Kansas City.  (PB with restaurant, bar, or grill).  (Great idea).


Yvonne has also been playing a little over a year.  She helped organize a ‘Meet & Greet’ with her PB group that included former ambassador Matt Lazarine who is a certified instructor.  This event generated lots of interest and excitement.  Yvonne has played is several venues in TX, FL, and NM.  She notes that at each facility she was greeted warmly and wants her group to do the same with their visitors.  The now have ‘greeters’ who explain the rotation procedure for experienced players and others to help explain the rules, court, etc.  She wants to work toward getting beginner classes offered on a regular basis as well as periodic clinics for intermediate and advanced players.  ( You certainly seem to be on the right track.)  And more just in from Yvonne….

I've completed my first official Ambassador duty.  😊 Last week I submitted a proposal to the Director at the YMCA where I play four times a week to request approval to place the information about their Pickleball program on the Places2Play section of the USAPA website. Approval was granted in just a few days and I am glad to report that the information is now out their 'live' on the website!  (I used the online 'Help Guide' which walked me through the process of entering the data.)


I know that I really appreciate this resource when we're traveling and it makes me feel good to know others will be aware of the YMCA's program in Buda.


We have a group of about 50 players-a majority of whom play together several times per week at the YMCA in Buda. We recently bought Pickleball t-shirts---a total of 40 were ordered by group members! (I worked with a graphics designer to finalize the design and then found a local vendor to order the shirts from).  The t-shirts were distributed last week.  We came together yesterday to play, take a group photo, and then 20 of us attended our monthly group lunch. It was such a fun day!


My husband and I were wearing our shirts after lunch as we ran a few errands.  We had comments from others as they saw the graphics on the t-shirt. Pickleball is always a conversation starter. 


The group t-shirts have had such a positive impact on the group-we feel more 'connected'.  The level of energy among the group yesterday was incredible!  The t-shirts will also help promote the sport as we wear them out and about. 


 Benjamin has been playing over six months.  He has recently joined the Addison Parks & Rec Master Plan Committee.  He wants to get PB on the agenda to increase awareness of the sport in his city.   Ben has a goal to get the city to commit some outdoor space for PB courts.   He has been participating with about 20 players and has encouraged them to increase their abilities.  Ben wants to introduce PB to the younger set as well.


I am really excited about this group of new ambassadors.  Please welcome them to our ambassador family.


 Congratulations to DA, Vicky Noakes (OKC, OK) for being awarded a grant from the USAPA.  Here is why:  I was asked to put on a demo by the Stipe Recreation Manager. They needed more community activities in their gym. With 4 other members of the Greater OKC Pickleball club we showed 25-30 local residents how to play pickleball. This community has a large number of tennis players and they showed up to learn pickleball. We had an age range from 14-80 yrs old. All ages will be playing together. They will start with open play on Tuesday and Thursday mornings when they get 3 nets ordered.  McAlester is about 150 miles from Oklahoma City or Tulsa. Population is around 20,000 residents.


The closest pickleball is 60 miles away in Ada, OK.  (Way to go, Vicky).


(Remember, you are ALMOST guaranteed a grant if the potential venue does not have PB).


Don’t forget that April is National Pickleball Month.  You should have received a ‘promotion kit’ from the USAPA two or three weeks ago.  Feel free to do any kind of promotion and let us know what you did.  We can put that in next month’s newsletter.


Got any extra or old paddles laying around?   SSIPA (Super Seniors International PB Assoc) is collecting them to give to beginning young players in other countries.  Check with a SSIPA representative for more info.


 For those of you who REALLY want to travel, here are two PB events in Italy


Italian Open and Bainbridge Cup



• July 18 to 22, 2018




• Montesilvano, Italy


• Venue: Pala "Dean Martin" - Centro Congressi


• Games will be played on indoor courts




• Italian Pickleball Association







• The categories will be based on age and skill level.

• We plan to include the following age brackets: 19+, 50+, 65+, 70+, 75+, and 80+. Age groups may be modified or combined based on number of participants.

• Age is determined as of December 31, 2018.

• All playing levels are welcome.

• Events include Women’s Doubles, Men’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles.

• Each event will have Pool Play followed by Bracket Play.

• A and B level brackets will be created after pool play. Top teams from each pool will enter A Bracket. Bottom teams from each pool will enter B Bracket.

• Pool Play will be 2 games to 11, win by 1.

• Bracket play will be either best 2 out of 3 to 11, win by 2, or one to 15, win by 2, depending on the time available.

• Awards given to the top 3 finishers in each bracket (A and B) of each event.

• All games refereed. All players must referee or provide a replacement to referee for themselves.

• Participants are guaranteed a minimum of 4 games per event.


Corso Garibaldi, 56 - 65028 TOCCO DA CASAURIA (PE) - ITALY





(I participated in the Spanish Open and the Bainbridge Cup last year in Spain.  Lots of fun.  Took some extra days to sight see).



We have at least three newly certified refs in our region:  Don Stanek (OK City, OK), Roger Workman (Houston, TX), and Kate Williams (Rogers, AR).  (Congratulations to all three).


 Fred Thompson (Denton, TX) has been recently named as Middle Section Leader (comprised of the Mid-South, Great Plains, and Middle States Regions) of the National Referee Training Committee.  He will be assisted in the Mid-South by: Referee Training Coordinator, Bob Romagosa (Denton, TX) and Certified Referee, Jo Honeycutt (San Marcos, TX). 


The goal of this group is to improve the quality of referees and the quantity for all tournaments, not just sanctioned events.  If someone decides to go through the certification process, that is the icing on the cake.



I have received several emails/calls/texts re the NSGA (National Senior Games Assoc) National tournament in Alburquerque, NM in 2019.  Nothing is actually iced down at this point although it looks like we may get many more days to play than in the past.  If that happens, I would guess that we would run it just as before, but have more days per age divisions. The 50-64 age groups would go the first week and then the rest would play the 2nd week.  Please remember that this is logical guesswork on my part.



Let me review how one qualifies to go to the tournament.  Each state is allowed two qualifying events, but only one or two states actually have two tournaments.  You must finish in the top four of an event (MD, WD, MX, MS, WS).  If the state you are participating in is an open state (for instance, you can come to LA to our tournament and attempt to qualify) it is possible that more than the top four can qualify.  An out of state person/team cannot displace the local state players.  If the out of state team wins gold, then the highest instate team also gets gold.  This does not work in reverse.  If the out of state team gets bronze over all, it will qualify, along with the third place in state team.  (All four states in our region are open states, so this happens in each of our states).


To play singles in NM, you must qualify in singles in a qualifying tournament.  To play WD in NM, one of you must have qualified in a qualifying tournament while the other partner must have qualified in PB (which means in WS or MX, or, of course WD).  The key is this for any doubles….Both must qualify in PB while one or the other must qualify in that particular event.  Other items are…


You do not need to partner with the person you qualified with.  Some of you will not be required to play in the same age group that you qualified in because some of you might move into another age group (from 55-59 to 60-64, for instance, or down, if you partner with a younger player).  However, your age group placing is still determined by whoever is the younger of the two partners.  There are no skill levels in the state or national event…strictly age group.


If you have questions, just get in touch with me.



Re the USAPA Mid-South Regional in Grapevine.  We had over 500 registrations…something like 512, with 487 actual participants.  And by the way, we also had over 180 of the participants complete the survey that closed after one week of being open.  Thanks for your input.  I have not yet received feedback from the company that is tabulating and making sense of the comments, but I was told that re the possible 5 star rating for the overall event, you rated us as a 4.6, which is very good.  Thanks for that.  I felt we had a fantastic team in the administrative area and we had a great core group of volunteers.  Of course, many of you stepped up to help ref or be a line judge.  I know there are things we still need to improve on and that should come out in the survey.  In fact, I have already had some private discussions with our team members on making some possible changes.  One of those is the length of the days/nights.  There are options for this.  Lower the number of registrations.  Have an additional administrative team come in to finish up each day/night.  Find a larger venue.  Add an extra day or so.  The last two may not be an easy answer because of the cost factor.  I do know that Grapevine wants us back.  So if you have a thought about this, please contact your district ambassador, or me, and let us know what you are thinking.


A reminder… Please use our Mid-South website.  (www.midsouthUSAPA.com)  List your tournament or clinic there.  If your tournament is listed, there will be a good chance that you will not be competing against another event near your area. 


We also have a Mid-South ambassador Facebook page.  To be invited, please contact Barb Patterson at: (barbpatter1@gmail.com).  This is for Mid-South ambassadors only.


I hope to see some of you at the TX SOG (Senior Olympic Games) PB tournament in San Antonio.


FEb 2018


                     Mid-South Region Newsletter


                             February, 2018




We have two newly appointed ambassadors to introduce:  Amy Yarbrough (San Marcos, TX) and George Boutwell (Winnsboro, LA).

Amy has been playing a little over a year.  She has helped friends learn about PB and teaching them the game.  Coming from a physical education, coaching, and training background, she is a strong advocate of wellness and sport.  She thinks many people can benefit from pickleball and is so contagious that she enjoys promoting this sport in any venue from the young to the older.  Amy wants to contact local schools to see about introducing PB in to the physical education departments.  She wishes to set up clinics to promote PB to new players and to the other group of players who are interested in tournament play.  Amy also wants to work with the city of San Marcos to create more venues to play PB.




George has been playing almost three years.  He has assisted with a demo for a high school baseball team and has taught the game to several newbies in his area.  He has helped ref a small tournament.  George wants to get the game to schools in his area, as well.  (I was asked to come to Winnsboro to help get the game started, and George was there).  He has been one of the main sources for the growth of PB in this community since then.  Like many, he LOVES this game.




Susan Henderson (Mesquite, TX) has been approved for a $250 USAPA Community Grant.  Here’s how:  We decided to begin pickleball open play within our own church congregation on October 5, 2017 because several people played and there was interest from others who wanted to learn. We borrowed 3 nets from North Texas Ambassador, Charlotte Rivera, taped courts and one of our members loaned us a basket of pickleballs. For the past four months, we have met each Thursday night at 6:00 in the youth center/gym and the interest has grown. We have two game courts and one training court between them where we teach new people how to play each week. There are approximately 30 who have attended. At first, it was mainly church members, then friends of church members began coming. We decided to list the location on Places 2 Play at the end of January and open the site up to the community since there is no other site to play pickleball in Mesquite. We have a variety of ages and skill levels, but perhaps our most rewarding accomplishments have been how much some of our seniors have enjoyed coming. Our oldest player is 82 and she loves the chance to be active and get out of her house.  Another player is recovering from and stroke and tells us how much pickleball helps his eye/hand coordination and socialization.  We would like to have our own nets and return the borrowed ones to Charlotte, so we decided to apply for the grant.  (Way To Go, Susan.  I encourage all of you to take advantage of this program).




David Lasater (Russellville, AR) I've just got to share my giddiness.  We're breaking out up here. Been working Clarksville (30 miles west of Russellville) for a year, manager not really into it.  So we got the churches playing in that town.  She (manager)  cracked the door last week and 20 players flooded in.  LOL  Delicate - giving the manager time to feel ownership before I get her to list it as a place to play.  This is a two full court size rec center.  Big win.


I've made contact with Ozark (30 miles west of Clarksville). Brand new rec center.  Going up there when I get off crutches.


Marshall is full throttle in Ft Smith (30 miles west of Ozark).  Kate Williams and I are meeting him to give an introduction to a Ft Smith Tennis Club. 


Siloam Springs has started up.  And I've found little towns out in the Ozark Mtns playing. 


Getting kinda fun!  Haha  (Keep having that FUN, David).




Christie Borne (Hot Springs Village, AR) sends the following: Met these six Grand Rapids Pickleball Club chicas for a weeks’ worth of pickleball lessons, a little karaoke, sun and fun in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico in January.  Another Grand Rapids pickleball chica, Phyllis Wordhouse, who lives in Mexico 7 months a year is the ambassador at large.  Through her realtor, she found this tennis court on the property of a 6 million home up for sale.  With a group of other pickleball players, they taped lines and patched the holes for us and other locals who could give pickleball a try.



Although I only conducted one-two hour clinic here with the chicas, Phyllis supplied us with a laundry basket of balls and Wilson slap down lines after we found a tennis court at the Vidanta Rivera Resort where we were staying.  We began building on the lesson plans I created from day one which included dinks and 3rd shots drops, to lobbing from the non-volley line and learning how to recover their own lobs.   (photo next page) 






Chuck Flanagan (Sun City, TX) sent this pic (below) of a ref clinic in Grapevine, TX in preparation for the USAPA Mid-South tournament.  Ambassadors Bob & Irene Romagosa (Denton, TX) conducted the clinic for the 47 participants.  Lunch was served before the clinic.






George Boutwell (Winnsboro, LA) notes that the great thing about pickleball is anywhere you travel you can find places to play.


Ann B McIntyre and Rudy are doing just that.


Today they spent the morning at the Bobby Riggs Tennis Club in Encinitas, California.  Ann said they had enough players to keep 4 courts going steady and played at least 10 games. Probably picked up some pointers and I’m sure they made some new friends in the process. (Ann & Rudy were also central to PB getting started in Winnsboro).




Vicky Noakes (OK City, OK) shares…


This letter was from Jenny Marcos a tennis pro from Oklahoma City that took pickleball to the Philippines. Jenny is the one in the back with the blue shirt.


I wouuld like to thank you all for your generosity. It was an amazing journey to the Philippines!  


Introducing pickleball to 4 different cities made a great impact. The trip to Vigan City, Baguio City, Pangasinan, & Valenzuela created so much interest. 


By January 2019, Baguio City sports coordinators & myself will hold a conference/clinic. All the school system will be invited to this conference. 


Thank you so much to everyone who donated all the pickleball racquets, balls, nets, trophies, & medals. The kids, adults, & the clubs, considered every single piece of equipment as gold! They are all so grateful! 




The OKC PB Club helped furnish many of the donations.






Gordon Erwin (Copperas Cove, TX) Shares that  on the Quality of Life Board for the city and at the last meeting we reviewed the 2019-2023 Capital Improvement Plan.  In it was $170,000 to resurface the tennis court at the golf course and creating an outdoor sitting area for eating, entertaining, etc.  On the tennis courts will also be pickleball courts.  I am pleased that they finally understood how much pickleball is growing.



Dan Dyer (Amarillo, TX) tells us that the City of Amarillo opened a remodeled Activity Center with 2 indoor PB courts in a gym. He  began instruction there this month.




Bobby Howard (Tyler, TX) announces that 1st Tyler PBTournament will be held March 24th.  For info, contact Chris Singer (csinger@cascadesoftexas.com).




As you might notice, this letter is a bit early.  Since I do this on my desktop, and we are leaving for Grapevine the day you receive this, it was my only choice re when to send.


Thanks for the great pics for this letter.  I have to admit, some others that were sent, I could not rotate.  By the way, don’t forget that we now have a Facebook page strictly for Mid-South Ambassadors.  If you have not been invited, please contact Barb Patterson, and she will take care of you.


Feel free to share any info in this letter with your area players.  In fact, you are welcome to forward it to them.


I hope that those of you attending the USAPA Mid-South Regional will have a great time.  Please understand that we will be having long days and nights.  We also will be needing you to help ref.  If you are not experienced, we can have an experienced ref help you.  Please review the recent rule changes which should help make reffing easier for you.  I hope to see you soon.








JAN-18 (early edition)


I want to welcome everyone to our new four-state region.  There are exciting changes coming at us, fast and furious.  The addition of three new regions (we now total eleven regions) which required some of us to lose a state or two, a new rule book with several ‘major’ changes, a new rating system (hopefully coming soon) and of course, the immense growth (close to 500 players) of our USAPA Mid-South Regional. 


We are also welcoming our newest ambassador appointees:  Farah Gobalani (Plano, TX), Logan Dalgleish (Dallas, TX), Bill Dunn (Horseshoe Bay, TX), and Marshall Sharpe (Fort Smith, AR).


Farah has been playing about 3 ½ years.  By the time you read this, she will have given a presentation to the City of Plano re PB.  She wants to promote PB to the youth in local schools as well as help new players learn the game.  Farah also thinks there is potential for new courts being built or underused tennis courts being converted to PB to provide more venues for players.


Logan has been playing for about a year and a half.  Every other Friday, he gathers 5-10 fellow co-workers and younger industry professionals (ages 21-39) and introduces them to PB.  He uses these opportunities to network (this game IS social).  The end result is that many close friendships have been built, and they look forward to the next opportunity to play.  Logan has converted family members and friends to PB as well.  Je has purchased a portable net and has leveraged the relationships he has in commercial real estate to use building owners parking garage and roof space to set up courts after business hours.  This demonstrates the versatility of PB and has made conversation pieces out of the places they have played.  Lastly, Logan is interested in getting involved in outreach opportunities with groups such as First Tee, which builds life skills through golf for young children who lack structure within their family and home.  To say it mildly, Logan is a busy person…he is involved in 16 different social and non-profit organizations in the Dallas area.


Bill has been playing over three years.  He was instrumental in establishing PB at the Horseshoe Bay Resort and the new public courts in HB.  He also conducted drills at the Burnet ‘Y’.  Bill wants to try to get PB going in a couple of nearby towns that do not yet have PB.  BTW, he notes that this weekend, the HB Resort will hold their first Margarita & Beer Mixer.  (I am not sure if that is the first annual, monthly, weekly, or DAILY event. J  Do I see a double meaning with ‘mixer’?  It sure looks like fun is on the way at that venue, not to mention PB).


Marshall has been playing a little over two years.  He has conducted several demos to church groups and neighborhood groups.  He wants to get youngsters involved in PB and envisions having contests between several area churches in the four-city area.  Marshall has had two cookouts and fed about 60 players, and wants to makes these events an annual affair followed by PB play.


It looks like we again have hit the jackpot by attracting some outstanding people to our ambassador family.  I look forward to their reports of success.




Mike Goldberg (Houston, TX) set up a skills clinic for beginner & intermediate players at the Houston Badminton Center.  He also reports that there are two new outdoor PB opportunities:  Memorial Northwest Community Center in Spring, TX…Mon & Thur 7-9pm and Sat 8-11am.  In downtown Tomball, there is a court opposite the Train Depot Park.  Call 713-201-1931 for more info.




Pat Heurtin (St Francisville, LA) shares: During the Jan. 3 Staff Development In-Service Day at Bains Upper Elementary School, the staff who work with physical education, Play 30 and adapted physical education were introduced to pickleball.  Pat Heurtin, with the West Feliciana Pickleball Club, along with Tom Burkhart, Mid-South Regional director of the United States of America Pickleball Association, and longtime player Gene Dykes, of Baton Rouge, took the group through the basics of the game. With the exception of Brent Didier, the adapted physical education teacher, none had played the game before.  After going through some basic skills and strokes of the game, Paul Sirchia, Preston King, Kristy Barbe, Raki Barden and Brent Didier, all participated in a doubles game with Burkhart, Dykes, and Heurtin providing tips and strategy.  Following the game experience, Heurtin, a retired physical education teacher herself, distributed examples of teaching stations for elementary age students and walked them through these station ideas.   (Photo below)

















Christie Borne (Hot Springs Village, AR) recently received her IPTPA certification in December in Denton, Texas.  Below are some of her many accomplishments.  (Congratulations, Christie)


  • Currently teaching pickleball in Hot Springs Village, AR

  • 9 years of pickleball teaching experience from grassroots level to experienced tournament players and 15 years teaching tennis

  • Medaled four years in singles in her age group at the USAPA National Tournament and medaled in many other tournaments as a 4.5 player

  • USPTA wheelchair and able-bodied certified

  • Creator of Survive the Heat Pickleball Camps for Kids

  • Founder of Pickleball Sisters (http://pickleballsisters.com)

  • Published in five issues of USPTA’s ADDvantage magazine

  • Author of Pickleball ~ One Court at a Time (Growing Homegrown Programs)









Tim Dean (Cedar Park, TX) held a free Crazy Sock Tournament with 32 players.  Feedback from players was the most fun they have had playing pickleball.  Teams were evenly divided into eight teams of four players each.  Players were randomly playing with 15 different partners for 15 five minute games and a winning team was determined by number of total wins from all four players on each team.  The top two teams then had a playoff game to determine the winner. This format is a similar format that fellow ambassador Sandra Carrillo uses for some of her fun tournaments in San Antonio. 





Dig all those COOL SOCKS.




***DON’T FORGET THAT THE DEADLINE FOR NOMINATING SOMEONE FOR THE PB PIONEER AWARD IS FEB 1ST***                 Go to Mid-South website to complete nomination form.




Dale Smith (Monroe, LA) has gotten PB started at The Rec in West Monroe.  There is enough interest to have PB Mon & Thur from 9am-noon.  (Way to go, Dale).




Tom & Deonne Linenberger (Biloxi, MS) (former Mid-South and now Atlantic-South Ambassadors) sent this to show their progress in their area:


We are attaching a picture of our six new outdoor courts converted from two tennis courts because we knew you would enjoy seeing this addition to our program.  We obtained donations for all the work.  Courtside cabanas and benches will be installed this week.  We are awaiting word from Home Depot on a grant for a storage shed and landscaping.  It has been an exciting project and we hope one day to convert the back two tennis courts to an additional six pickleball courts(photo below)





Ray Pereyra (USAPA Grant Master) provided the graph below showing funding by region for 2017.  I hope we can improve our standing in 2018.  All that needs to be done is complete the form to purchase specified items for a venue that does not have a PB program.





The following is info for the USAPA Mid-Atlantic Regional, one of our new regions.  Their tournament will be held in Myrtle Beach, SC on Oct 26-28.  Registration on PBT (Pickleballtournaments.com) opens April 2nd.  (BTW…all Regionals will be SSIPA events).


You should have received info regarding the new USAPA Rule book.  Some of the changes will take some getting used to.  For instance, beginning Feb 1st, when the new rules go into effect, a player may NOT ask ‘Am I in the right spot?’.  To help you figure this out, the ref can give you the score.  Based on your score, and where you began the game (left/odd or right/even), you will be able to determine if, in fact, you are in the correct spot.




I just completed another three-week beginner class.  Providing excellent help for all three classes have been fellow ambassadors Cindy & Tex Morris.


Cindy and I also worked a hands-on demo in Zachary, LA at their local ‘Y’.  The first time turnout was between 15-20 potential players.


I hope that you are providing your share of time and effort to help complete the Places 2 Play updating project this month.  Last year, we actually had a few ambassadors review and update several venues that had not been completed.  Those few ambassadors did not even live in some of the states that they reviewed.  That should not have to happen.  Please do your part in completing this needed project.


This coming weekend, we will head to Port St Lucie, FL, to attend the ambassador retreat.  If you have a chance to go next year, try to make it work.  You will find it worth the time and effort, as there are seminars, lots of interaction with other ambassadors, a meeting with your regional director, PB clinics, vendors showing their wares, great food, and, of course time to play PB.


Although this newsletter is sent to ambassadors, you are welcome to share the info included.  The newsletter can also be viewed by going to the Mid-South website. 


I hope to see many of you in March at the largest Mid-South Regional ever.  Safe travels.





                      MID-SOUTH REGION NEWSLETTER


                                             December, 2017




I want to welcome four newly appointed ambassadors for our region:  Patty Harrison (Tyler, TX), Millie Enzler (Dallas, TX), Mary Latimer (Mercedes, TX), and Jason Schefferstein (Rockwall, TX).


Patty is a tennis pro at the country club where she works and has already implemented PB into their program.  She will also be introducing PB at the USPTA Texas pros convention in February in Horseshoe Bay, Tx.  She plans to work on getting some demoes going in the local middle and high schools as well.  Lastly, Patty is working to get four dedicated PB courts built at the CC.  She has been playing a couple years.


Millie has been playing a little over a year and has been working with the City Rec Dept to try to get lines painted on some of the outdoors tennis courts so that there will be more options (and courts) for playing PB.  She also wants to work with rec centers to get more scheduled days/hours to play PB.


Mary was previously an ambassador in Ohio.  When she and her husband arrived at Llano Grande RV Park and Resort two years ago, there were about 50 PB players.  Last year, that doubled, and she is expecting that number to grow in 2018.  They gave free lessons in Ohio and continue to do the same in Mercedes.  Mary has also started a Facebook page for their PB group.


Jason has been playing almost two years.  He has helped conduct demos at several venues including church gyms, a community center, and the ‘Y’.  He is also helping to teach PB at two different Episcopal schools in the area.  He is a partner in a company he bagan called Pickleball Therapy which helps people who battle PTSD, depression, anxiety, and other physical or mental challenges.  Their goal is to launch an indoor facility with 8-12 courts in coordination with local state governments and donors.  They are also working with the local school board to get PB introduced in the schools.


It certainly looks like our new group of ambassadors is off to a great start.  Please welcome them when you have the opportunity.




Carla Norris-Hopkins (Little Elm, TX) notes that she was contacted by the Colin Powell 6th Grade Center PE teacher to again introduce Pickleball to her 6th graders, as well as to the 7th & 8th grade PE classes of Lakeside Elementary.  Carla initially contacted Principal Liz Miller in November, 2016 to offer instruction to the PE classes - especially since her son showed an interest and played with the adults during the previous Summer.  Then in March she heard back from the Ms. Miller and teacher Tammy Harkins who wanted to showcase the sport to her classes for three days. This time around the teacher contacted Carla to again bring in volunteers to mark the courts and teach Pickleball since the kids enjoyed it so much earlier in the year.  


So, with the invaluable help of 13 Pickleball player teacher volunteers they completed a successful week of teaching, demonstrating and guiding the kids in this wonderful, fast-growing sport. The volunteer team made it all possible and were very much needed as they answered the call by donating their time, talent, skill, experience and love whatever day or times that they could during the week of  November 13-November 17, 2017.   The team consisted of Bob Shechan - who marked the courts while teaching a young helper in the process - Lead teachers Andy Burnett and Angela Luhman, Dan Harrison, Susan Sage, Peter Wilson, Deborah Barton, Lyn Davis, Linda Loyd, Tua Roose, Len Bazay, Bob Romagosa (also adding his Certified Referee skills) , John Alcoze, Barry Stengle (not pictured) and  Carla.   Others who helped by loaning much needed paddles were Tara Niemann, Athletics and Aquatics Supervisor at the L ittle Elm Rec Center Ambassador Juanita Vincent , Angela Luhman and Linda Loyd .  Thanks also to Ellen Gilgore for her offer to again provide paddles as she did in March.


The students showed remarkable improvement by the end of the week , including teacher Tammy Harkins and her aide, Coach Gunn whom the kids had a big laugh with whenever he missed a shot playing them or when playing the Pickleball volunteer teachers between classes.  


Friday all five Period classes had a tournament and the Pickleball teachers were amazed at how well some of them played and happy for the good sportsmanship they all showed.  Every volunteer planted a seed  that will grow and blossom into more  love and promotion of the sport and hopefully tournament medals .  Their teacher is also going to start a Pickleball Club at the school!!  This was a rewarding week of Junior Pickleball.  (Great job, Carla & friends).