Welcome to the home of the
USAPA MID-SOUTH REGION
MID SOUTH TOURNAMENT PICTURES CLICK HERE
We have several new ambassador appointees this month: Karin Plotts (Bryan, TX), Larry Patrick (Hot Springs, AR), Brian Richardson (Tuttle, OK), and Lisa Keesler (Brenham, TX), Rocky Arrington (OKC, OK), and Shawn Koonce (Round Rock, TX).
Karin was actually a new ambassador when I wrote last month’s letter, but I failed to include her in the new ambassador listings. I apologize for that. She has been playing about a year and a half at six or seven different area venues. Karin has helped with beginner clinics and has served as tournament director for two local round robin events. Like many others, she loves telling others about PB and notes that it has been a life changing sport for her. She plans to incorporate a PB program into their brand new Lifestyle Center for Seniors, and also into the local school systems. Additionally, wants to present PB through a faith based program into the two ‘second chance’ ranches for troubled youth in her area. (I have also seen Karin voluntarily work with the administrative team every day of a recent large tournament).
Larry has been playing about 3 ½ years. He is the group leader of his PB crew. He has taught or instructed at least ten beginners in the last six months. He teaches skills & drills two days a weeks for abut an hour and a half before regular play begins. Larry will become the director of the first dedicated PB courts in Hot Springs and those will be the home courts for their newly formed PB Club. He wants to hold battle border games with other local ambassadors so that both can reach out and meet each other more regularly and play PB for bragging rights.
Brian has been playing about 4 ½ years. He has plays at three local (OKC) venues and has played in several tournaments. He has helped demo PB at the OK State Fair. Brian has several goals for PB including holding tournaments, leagues, clinics, and using social media to engage the public in PB activities.
Lisa has been playing just over a year. She has assisted fellow local ambassadors in promoting PB with a large display table as well as a mini court (NVZ to NVZ) for demos and introductionsto PB. She has assisted in hosting/helping with several clinics and lessons and was included in a group of players with the purpose of brainstorming ideas to promote PB growth in the community. Lisa obtained a new indoor location to play at Blinn Junior College during hot summer days. She helped organize a group of members who helped clean up a home destroyed by Hurricane Harvey. She is a strong force in getting their club organized. Lisa has plans on getting PB into the local schools. LISA recently was pictured on the first page of her local newspaper teaching PB during Senior’s Day. (All this and much more in just a year. Wow).
Rocky has been playing a little over 3 ½ years. During that time, he has participated in/ and led many demos in several venues, towns, and cities. He is part of the administration of the large OKC PB Club and is on the local ratings committee along with assisting District Ambassador Vicky Noakes in the Beginners Training Program. Rocky serves as the Court Operations Chairman and plans on adding to the already 14 sites in OKC by contacting large churches with gyms and schools as well as public/city recreation facilities.
Shawn is a former ambassador for the Mid-South and has decided ‘to go through the process’ again to return to that position. And we certainly welcome him back.
This seems to be an excellent, high-energy group of new ambassadors. Please welcome them to the Mid-South family when you get the chance.
By the way, all new ambassadors are welcome to join the Mid-South Region Ambassadors Facebook page. This page is a Mid-South Ambassador only page. Ask Barb Patterson to join (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Our Mid-South Region website can be found by going to (midsouthusapa.com).
Dennis Schule (Mountain Home, AR) has just received a USAPA Grant and here is why: The United Methodist Church has been a backup play facility with very limited use. The church has replaced all of the lighting in the gym to make play much more acceptable. There were two temporary courts that received very little play. We now want to turn the facility into a permanent play facility for our community and club by adding three courts
which should provide adequate opportunity for all. The group mostly consists of seniors with a number of youth that play on the weekends. We have two net systems that have been donated and really need the grant to help pay for the third net, four rolls of court marking tape and more balls. Without the assistance from the grant we do not think we can obtain enough donations to accomplish our goals.
The Twin Lakes Pickleball Club has grown so much that we have pretty much outgrown our current play venue, Cooper Park Youth Center. By adding the Methodist Church, this will provide one more location to help grow the sport here in Mountain Home. TheMethodist Church will also provide a venue for play when we are unable to use the youth center when the kids are out of school.
Sharon Richard (Lafayette, LA) conducted a ‘Fun Day of PB’ in conjunction with National Pickleball Month (April). Teams of six players, divided by skill level, played other teams. This was similar to the same type event learned at the Ambassador Retreat, in FL. A good time was had by all.
Pat Heurtin (St Francisvill, LA) shares the following: The West Feliciana Pickleball Club recently completed a 6-weeks OLLI Course [Osher Lifelong Learning Institute of LSU] PLAYING PERCENTAGE PICKLEBALL, with guest instructor Robert Kelly, a 4.5 player from Zachary. Robert and Pat Heurtin worked together to offer the 14 participants as many opportunities to improve their 'soft' game as well as all skills. Many of these same class participants will take their new skills and use them in the April 21st Spring Fling Tournament to be held at the West Feliciana Parish Sports Park. (photo next page)
More from Pat…Early in the year I began thinking about having a small tournament just for the West Feliciana Pickleball Club Members, especially those whom I would rank as Advanced Beginners. I wanted to give them some tournament experience on their home courts. Then, my good friend and almost relative (ambassador) Howard Ward gets on board and the next thing I know, we're planning a tournament for not one but two different skill levels........adding Intermediate. We set a goal of 40 players. No, Howard set a goal of 40. I thought he was crazy, but went along for the ride. And what a ride we had. We started planning and advertising and before long we had 39 participants total.......men's and women's doubles and mixed doubles in both categories. I worked with our West Feliciana Parish Sports Park Staff to get the site arrangements made and Howard started working on the brackets. That's when the 'hiccups' began.....a few players had to withdraw for a variety of reasons. We were shuffling players and looking for others and finally the bracket was set with 35 players from St. Francisville, New Roads, Zachary, Clinton, Baton Rouge, Denham Springs, Watson, Biloxi and Long Beach, MS. (Mostly small towns in the BR area, except for the MS two).
We were fortunate to have some experienced players come from the area and volunteer to referee all the matches. They really kept the tournament moving right along. By lunch, all men's and women's doubles were done; medals handed out; photos taken. Then, across the street we go to a smaller pavilion where one of the park employees had prepared a delicious jambalaya. Food, cold beverages, door prizes, and the auctioning of a top-of-the-line Engage paddle by Paddle Representative Tex Morris kept everything lively. Then, back across the street for Mixed Doubles.
Mixed Doubles games were pool play with 'one game to 15' for both levels. Some of the medals were decided by one or two points – most exciting games.
Kudos to our West Feliciana Parish Sports Park, all our participants, our spectators, our volunteer refs, the WF Club members who didn't play but helped in many ways, and to my good friend and co-tournament director Howard Ward.
The local Bains Elementary PE Dept. will benefit from this tournament by receiving funds to assist them in purchasing PB equipment for grades 2 - 5th. (photo of ambassadors attending to help below)
Mike Goldberg (Katy, TX) reminds players in his area about the following: The Katy YMCA Main Street is still playing adult pickleball on Wednesday nights from 7 to 10pm, so come on by if you want to play after work. There will be another DRILLS and SKILLS Clinic/Mixer at the Badminton Center on Wednesday, May 15th. You can learn the fundamentals of good Pickleball play, improve your game and lunch is included. There will be another Pickleball party at the No Label Brewery in Katy on Sunday afternoon, May 27th. The 2nd Royal Carribean Pickleball Cruise to Cozumel, Grand Cayman, and Jamaica will set sail from Galveston September 16 to 23. There are three courts on the ship and courts on shore when it's in port. The program includes T-shirts and door prizes for what seems to be a good price.
Bobby Howard (Tyler, TX) shares that: On May 22 6-8 PM, he will be having a Pickleball Clinic/Play Session at the Paula Martin Jones Recreation Center in Longview. This is a result of the director
calling him to help jump-start their pickleball program. Also…
Bobby just met with Mario at Faulkner Tennis Center. He is now the new vendor/director which is good news. He wants to promote pickleball there. He has offered to let us tape 2 courts (on one tennis court) & leave the tape in place as long as he doesn t get too many complaints about it from the tennis members. So we are gonna start
regular play there on Wednesday nights 7-9 PM starting April 25.
. In the fall we are planning a BIG 2 DAY PICKLEBALL TOURNAMENT at Faulkner as a fund raiser to re -surface & line the courts.
Chuck Flanagan (Georgetown, TX) sends his Club’s excellent April edition of their newsletter with some interesting articles:
From USAPA Grant Committee Chair, Linda Gartlan: The High School Grant Program is a new endeavor for USAPA as the organization moves to promote pickleball to the younger generation. A primary motive for selecting to invest at the high school age group was at that age most youth select their “life-long” sport(s). The elementary and middle schools will continue to be serviced through the Community Grant Program. The complete High School and Community Grant Program descriptions are available on the USAPA website:
Tim Dean (Cedar Park, TX) reminds us of the Cedar Park Paddle Battle on May 17-20. Call him at (512-401-5506) for more info.
USING A USAPA BANNER?? The Director of Ambassadors sent the following: “in addition to sanctioned tournaments, it's appropriate for the current banner to be displayed at non-sanctioned tournaments (if the ambassador is present and is manning a table promoting USAPA). Also, ambassadors can display a banner when they are running free approved/sanctioned clinics and outreach programs. They can also be used as a backdrop when the ambassador is conducting a USAPA/pickleball interview or other media appearance. It’s ok to display during USAPA state or regional retreats or meetings.”
Want to get away to play your favorite game?? Consider the following. Two tournaments at the same venue, one right after the other. July 20th is the Bainbridge Cup, while the Italian Open is July 21, 22. This takes place in Montesilvano, Italy. Go to PBT for more info.
This month, I participated (not very well) in the recent Texas SOG, and the Acadiana SOG (better). I am also conducting two ‘Scoresheet Refresher’ cliinics soon. One in Baton Rouge, and the other is planned for early next month in Lafayette, LA. These are help sessions to encourage and teach refs/potential refs to be more consistent in how they complete the scoresheet. Once the participants feel comfortable with the USAPA system, they will have a chance to use their new skills during live play, which at that point, we can also work on watching the NVZ and not the ball. J
And a reminder that the Louisiana Senior Olympic Games PB Tournament is in Baton Rouge (June 9 & 10). WD, MD, & WS on Sat and MX & MS on Sun. Go to (lsog1.org) to register. (Seniors only)
The Louisiana State Games PB Tournament is in Monroe, LA (June 23,24). WD, MD, WS on Sat and MX & MS on Sun. Google (Louisiana State Games) to register. (all ages eligible to participate)
Each of the two events above ARE qualifiers for their own national tournament. (LSOG for the national event in NM) (State Games for the national event in VA)
Please share any info from this newsletter (or the whole thing) with players in your area.
It looks like it is beginning to warm up some. I just can’t wait for July and August to get here. Yeah, right.
I hope to see some of you in Denton soon.
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.