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                        MID-SOUTH REGION

 

                                Newsletter

 

                               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

http://www.pickleballitaly.org/italian-open1/general-information

 

• July 18 to 22, 2018

 

LOCATION:

 

• Montesilvano, Italy

 

• Venue: Pala "Dean Martin" - Centro Congressi

 

• Games will be played on indoor courts

 

HOSTED BY:

 

• Italian Pickleball Association

 

www.pickleballitaly.org

 

 

COMPETITION FORMAT

 

• 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

info@pickleballitaly.org

 

+39.085.8809139

 

(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.

tom


2018 PIONEER AWARD WINNER - CHUCK FLANAGAN

Chuck has been playing PB for about 12 years…after learning about the game by playing in an RV parking lot.  He has been a USAPA ambassador for four years and promotes the game as well as anyone I know.  He has participated in many local, regional, and national tournaments…and trained referees for many of these events. 

 

He has participated in the USAPA Nationals, the NSGA Nationals, TX SOG, LA SOG, along with other tournaments in AR, OK, NM, and has traveled and played in WI, IN, MO, San Juan Island Indian Reservation (WA), and Harrowsmith, Ontario, Canada.


 

He just plain LOVES the game of PB.  He is the first one to greet new folks who wander by the courts, no matter where he is playing.  He conducts training clinics for novice, intermediate, and advanced players, and does it happily (and free of charge).  He also spends a great deal of time training referees.  There is NOTHING that he likes more than a good rules question!  He is a District Ambassador and is always willing to pitch in and do whatever is needed for the game of PB.  He is always a great sport while playing and people seek his advice on the court.  His enthusiasm for the sport we all love is contagious.

 

BTW, he is also the Assistant Director for the Mid-South Region.