We want to welcome the following recent additions to our Mid-South ambassador family: Chris Carson (Frisco, TX), Jonathan Braun (Frisco, TX), and Val Oliver (Fort Worth, TX).
Chris has been playing a year at six different venues in the area. He has introduced PB to others in a way that benefits the individual as well as the sport as a whole. He wants to become a certified instructor so he might be of more service to others as he introduces the sport. Chris also wants to work with and in the local cities to introduce PB and its benefits.
Jonathan has been playing over two and a half years. He has helped demo PB for a new beginner clinic. He wants to help find new places to play in Frisco as there are no public courts available. Jonathan would like to teach younger people in the area to learn this amazing game. He is planning on talking with the local schools about promoting PB to their students and also having new lines painted on their current tennis courts.
Val has been playing over a year and participates at five different venues. She would like to help organize some beginner round robin events to help players get familiar with tournaments. She wants to continue to help teach beginning players PB. Val wants to be involved in getting PB to the youth of her area…particularly at schools and camps including ‘teaching the PE teachers’ about our game.
Please welcome these new appointees when you see/meet them.
Joyce Mitchell (Pharr, TX) was recently approved for a USAPA grant. Here is how: There are very few courts available to the public here in the Rio Grande Valley. The nearby facilities run by other cities offer play during the daytime, when students or people in the workforce cannot attend. These facilities cater mostly to winter Texans and a small group of year round players. One of our goals here in Pharr is to open up the opportunities for students and families to play alongside our current group. We are open on Saturdays and Sundays and have begun offering Friday evening beginner clinics for all ages following the suggested format on the USAPA website. In the Rio Grande Valley, obesity and diabetes are common chronic diseases. By teaching pickleball to students and families, we are giving them an opportunity to stay active for their lifetime. Many families here are low income, and we are providing paddles, balls, coaches/instructors and the courts/nets-so they can afford to enjoy this family friendly activity together. It is my sincere hope that we will demonstrate to the city a need for more courts (we only have 3 here), and that we can have a large group playing year round. I have begun speaking with police officers and firemen to organize a "Guns and Hoses" pickleball exhibition game to bring more attention to the sport and our new facility. I'm also speaking with school board members about holding clinics for PE teachers at an in-service. Here in the valley we have many different cultures, including the winter Texans from our Northern states and Canada. People of all education levels and backgrounds can enjoy pickleball. I can't think of a better way to bring people together! This grant will be a great benefit to the program and help us afford to do more for our players and the community.
(Congratulations, Joyce. Well done.)
More from Joyce…My first beginners group class held with our new USAPA nets (purchased/reimbursed with our USAPA grant)!
Chuck Flanagan (Georgetown, TX), District Ambassador for Central & South Central Texas, conducted a referee clinic at the Cedar Park Recreation Center. This was held as a prelude to the five-day Cedar Park Paddle Battle tournament. Over two dozen people attended the clinic, which was hosted by ambassador Tim Dean, the recreation manager for the city of Cedar Park. (Way to build the ref population, Chuck)
Charlotte Rivera (Lewisville, TX) ,District Ambassador for North Central and Northeast TX, shares the following:
The North Central and North East Texas (NCNETX) Districts had a great retreat on Nov 18 at Robson Ranch with 21 (about half) of our local Ambassadors attending! A wide array of topics were covered including implementing Area Team Leads, how to better support local tournaments with ongoing referee and tournament administration workshops, keeping Places2Play current, how to better coordinate tournament/clinic/event dates across our Districts/States/Region, how to improve communication among Ambassadors and across the Districts, and more. One of the best parts of the retreat, aside from dinner and a little bit of PB playing (outdoors in the cold-brrr!), was the brainstorming breakout groups.
The Ambassadors attending split into 4 groups covering 4 different topics:
1. How to get outdoor courts in your area (in the door, multi-use vs. permanent, who to build, follow-up, etc.)
2. Recruiting younger players (kids, teens, young adults, etc.)
3. Running a tournament (target audience, formats, working with facility, sanctioned vs. unsanctioned, equipment, promotion, etc.)
4. Player Etiquette – Rec Play – (play organization – paddle stacking, skill levels, challenge court, welcoming/teaching new players, player responsibilities, communication, etc.).
After all the brainstorming of great ideas, each group summarized their topic and presented to the rest of attendees. It was a great way for our Ambassadors to get to know each other better, pick each other’s brains, come up with new ideas, and gather insight from those with more experience. There were many positive comments!! Notes for each topic are being consolidated and will be sent out all the NCNETX Ambassadors.
We’re all in agreement that this should be a yearly event, so the planning for 2019 begins!
Like to travel to PB events?? Think about attending the 2019 Bainbridge Cup and German Open.
Bainbridge Cup: Friday, July 12, 2019
German Open: Sat and Sun, July 13 and 14, 2019
Open Play and Clinics: Wed and Thurs, July 10 and 11, 2019
Essen, Germany (Essen is 20 minutes from the city of Dusseldorf which has a world-class international airport)
Essen and Dusseldorf are located near the Rhine River and are very nice cities to visit.
Indoor Tennis Club with 28 pickleball courts
Registration is open at PBT.com
(I attended the first Bainbridge Cup and Spanish Open a little over a year ago and had a great time).
You will soon be contacted by your District Ambassador regarding updating Places to Play on the USAPA website. With the fantastic growth of PB, and as we get more and more venues, it is extremely important that ALL ambassadors help with this project. Do NOT begin now, as we want the update date to show as 2019. I feel sure that your DA will probably assign certain venues (or counties) for you to take care of. If you have not done this before, there is a ‘help guide’ on the USAPA website. We would like to have this required project completed by the end of January. Please contact your District Ambassador if you need help.
Reminder… registration for the USAPA Mid-South Regional will open January 1st at 1pm.
PICKLEBALL PIONEER AWARD
In conjunction with our regional, we will announce our 2019 Pickleball Pioneer Award winner at the dinner social the night before competition begins. Anyone (USAPA member or not) can nominate. However, the nominee MUST be a member in good standing, live in the Mid-South Region, and have been actively instrumental in growing the game for at least seven years. The nomination forms are located on the Mid-South website (www.midsouthusapa.com) so all one would need to do is to complete the info asked for. Please do not leave anything blank, or the form will not be accepted. The nomination period opens December 1st and ends February 15th. You will also find samples of past award winners on the regional website that can be used as a guide, and that the award committee will compare to the nominations sent in. If no nominations compare, then we may not have an award winner. (This has not happened in the ten years we have given this award).
I participated in a tournament in Tupelo, MS recently. We played in ‘The Bubble’. It covered four tennis courts. The Bubble is erected on November 1st and brought down after the winter. The center is about 30 ft high. (pics next page)
The Ambassador Handbook is in the process of getting final approvals. This is a truly handy book of helpful info. A lot of hard work by the committee went into adding and putting the information together. I hope you can take advantage of using it soon
Please remember to send in tournament info to Tim Dean, webmaster of the Mid-South Region website. If there is something you would like to see added to our website, just let Tim (firstname.lastname@example.org) know.
All Mid-South Ambassadors are welcome to become members of our Mid-South Ambassador Facebook page. If interested in participating, contact Barb Patterson (email@example.com).
District Ambassador of LA Johnny Venezia shares this photo of the first PB court on Mars. The only items it needs is a fence and lights.
This newsletter is for ambassadors, by ambassadors. I merely put what you send me together to send out in the letter. When you send items of interest or accomplishment, it certainly helps me (and your DA) know what you are doing. You are welcome to share whatever you think that players on your email list might be interested. This letter can also be found on the Mid-South website.
This letter is a little early due to the fact I will be away from my desktop while we roll into December. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and is now enjoying the holiday season.
We want to welcome the following recently appointed ambassadors to the Mid-South Region: Stephen Love (Dallas, TX), Lanny Thompson (Paragould, AR), Joyce Mitchell (Pharr, TX), Randy Blackburn (San Antonio, TX), Jodie Cotton (New Roads, LA), and Kathryn Burge (Rockwall, TX). We now have 188 ambassadors in our four state region.
Stephen has been playing five years. He helped initiate PB in his local ‘Y’, along with three other members. He subbed in for PR instruction at an elementary school for a four-day demo of PB and engaged as many as 30 students at a time. Stephen has also taught PB at his ‘Y’ and a local Rec Center as well as proving a weekly 1 1/2 hr. clinic at the Rec Center.
He began a fundraising for the ‘Y’s outreach program and is closing in on four years of raising $2000 to underwrite that program…every dollar from PB players.
Lanny has been playing half a year and has plans to start a Paragould PB club. He already has about 16 people who will join as soon as he can get a place to play. Lanny is checking with the local community center and other city properties, as well as local churches for PB use. He is in the process of writing by-laws for the club. When that gets established, he will start a Facebook page and looks forward to putting PB ads (planned clinics, etc.) in the local newspaper.
Joyce has been playing almost a couple years. She has taught several beginner clinics in Pharr and has assisted fellow ambassador Nanette McHenry with a beginner clinic in nearby Mission, TX. Joyce mentions that she is amazed that there are people who have played longer than she has but don’t know about the benefits of USAPA membership. She wants to promote both competitive and recreational play in her area. She has been successfully working with the city of Pharr in setting up new courts at the new Pharr Development & Research community center. She was actually taping PB court lines there when she received her ambassador appointment e-mail. Joyce has several plans on growing PB including a police vs fire dept event, teach PE teachers during one of their ‘in-service’ days, demo PB to the local parks & rec employees, etc.
Randy has been playing almost four years. He lives in a community with one under-used tennis court serving over 240 homes. He presented to the Bd of Dir the need to add PB lines to introduce the game. He also advised the Board the benefit of keeping residents active and the Bd had two PB courts lined and also purchased paddles, balls, and nets. They now have many players participating at least three days a week. Local area ambassador Ed Beyster helped conduct three clinics. Since that time, Randy has conducted demos to many in his community. He would eventually like to have some tournaments to benefit non-profit groups.
Jodie has been playing three years. He was a coordinator for an OLLI PB class headed by fellow ambassador Par Heurtin, and assisted her in teaching classes for their PB Club. Jodie has heard from numerous individuals in his area that would like to be introduced to PB. He has been lobbying the rec dept to consider adding a couple PB courts in the park.
Kathryn has been playing over two years. She helps beginners with skills and encouragement and has assisted fellow ambassador Susan Henderson to start PB in three separate venues. Kathryn has conducted a tournament as well as participated as a ref. She, along with other ambassadors in the area, are planning on quarterly local tournaments in which one of the purposes is to train local players how to ref so that when they host a sanctioned event, there will be plenty of refs.
A big welcome to our new appointees as they join our ambassador family.
Mike Goldberg (Katy, TX) reminds us of the Halloween PB Social Mixer at the Houston Badminton Center on Wednesday, the 31st. If interested, call 281-578-0371 or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
There are also two Pickle & Pints events coming up. Nov 3rd at the Texas Leaguer Brewing Co in Missouri City (1pm) and Nov 4th at the Eureka Heights Brew Co in Houston (1pm). To register for either, or both, go to: (www.facebook.com/pickleandpints/).
Pat Heurtin (St Francisville, LA) sends the picture below of her OLLI PB class that recently completed their activities. (Looks like some happy campers).
Ambassadors Linda Neill (Mandeville, LA), Joe Harkins (St Tammany), Ron Evans (St Bernard), and Johnny Venezia (Slidell, LA), formed the tournament team that conducted the successful Big Easy Tournament in New Orleans at the end of last month.
Tim Dean (Cedar Park, TX) encourages you to consider participating in the annual Cedar Park Championships Nov 28-Dec 2. (501-401-5506)
(This is a fun and well run event).
Greg Eisman (Slidell, LA) announces a one-day event in Slidell on Saturday, January 19, 2019 at the Northshore Harbor Center. Men’s & Women’s Doubles will be held in the morning while MX Doubles will take place in the afternoon. For more info, contact Greg at (985-285-6267).
Chuck Flanagan (Georgetown, TX) sends the Oct Sun City PB newsletter.
I participated in the 2nd Annual Hallowheel PB Tournament in Baton Rouge. The tournament is in conjunction with a tennis tournament at the same venue and time and both are a fundraiser for wheelchair tennis. Ambassadors Cindy and Tex Morris (Baton Rouge) were directors of this successful and fun Mixed Doubles event.
(pictures below & next page)
Cindy & Tex with LA Lt. Gov. Nungesser, who helped present medals
The Spooky medal (above)
Medalists from one of the Divisions
(Trying out PB)
For those of you traveling to California to participate in the USAPA Nationals, which begins Sat, Nov 3rd, have safe travels and have fun.
If you are conducting a PB event (tournament) please send the particulars to Tim Dean (email@example.com). It is our goal to list EVERY tournament (small or large) in our region. That should help in not having two nearby events on the same weekend. That list is on our regional website (www.midsouthusapa.com).
Mid-South has a Facebook page for Mid-South ambassadors only. If you are interested in being part of that group, get in touch with Barb Patterson (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The registration opening date for the USAPA Mid-South Regional at Robson Ranch (Denton, TX) has been changed and will open January 1st. Lodging info as well as General info can be found now on (pickleballtournaments.com). Please remember that there is a NASCAR event in the area the same time as Mid-South (last weekend of March). This is a good time to make lodging reservations.
I want to welcome our most recent additions to our ambassador family: Bruce Davie (Cherokee Village, AR), Donna McLean (Yukon, OK), Jeri Doane, (Edmond, OK), Gene Click, (Warr Acres, OK), Hal Clifford (OK City, OK), and Nicholas Whitson (Norman, OK).
(Do you kind of get the feeling that OK PB is exploding?)
Bruce has been playing over two years and has given many lessons to beginners. He has served as a tournament director and referee. He was the main force in starting the Village Pickleball People (Club) and also has a Facebook page for the group. Bruce wants to involve fellow ambassadors David Laseter and David Redding for a clinic.
Donna has been playing right at four years. She has assisted in getting round robin play started locally and helped city employees is setting up play at the Community Center. Donna helped with three demos, and of course, helped at the OK State Fair. She has also reffed at several tournaments. She wants to expand the interest of PB in the western suburbs of OK City, as well as to find new venues for possible play.
Jeri has been playing two years and has helped several times with teaching beginners. She enjoys seeing that group picking up the game and how much fun they have. As a former educator, she values learning as much as possible about PB and then passing it on to others.
Gene has been playing three years. He has helped teach youth of a local church as well as another group that attended a sports camp. He also helped at the OK State Fair. Gene has refereed in every tournament he has played in and will be directing his first event in November… The PC Smash. Being a member of the very large OK City PB Club, Gene wants to be available to help with items already in motion or stalled due to a lack of help.
Hal has been playing over three years and helped man a demo court at the OK State fair last year and is scheduled to do it this month as well. Being a life-long resident of OK City, Hal has many contacts in both the athletic and business areas. He is also a 34-year Board Member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and wants to introduce PB into schools and churches through that organization.
Nicholas began playing earlier this year. He also helped with the demo at the OK State Fair. He is a ‘court monitor’ for his club’s Wed. night open play. He notes that it is very beneficial to use social media to gain attention and attract new players to those ‘open play evenings’. Over the last month, he has seen at least 20 new players who have never played PB and all of them returned the following week to play again. Nicholas has contacted the local Parks & Rec Dept. to provide more evening play and has asked the city to consider dedicating some under-used tennis courts to PB.
Linda Hiehuus (Bellville, TX) was recently approved for a USAPA Grant. Here is how: We would like to offer another sport/activity for the children who attend/are members of The Boys and Girls Club who do not play basketball. Many of the children are disadvantaged and would have no opportunity to participate in an extra-curricular sport/activity if not for the Club. By offering Pickleball at the Club, we will have the opportunity to help children with hand-eye coordination and other skills as they play.
They will also learn how what good sportsmanship is and how to play as a team. In addition, when the Club is closed to the children, adults can use the courts for their recreational play. Most of our "founding" members are over 65 years old, so it will be wonderful for them to be able to play in their home-town and make use of the courts when the children aren't using them. The courts have lights and are covered, so we expect to be able to play year round. (CONGRATULATIONS, Linda).
Benjamin Paquette (Addison, TX) notes that he got the funding from the legacy foundation for pickleball lines and some storage in Addison. Looking forward to getting it all worked on and looking good now!!! (Good work).
Jayne Underwood (Edmond, OK) shares the following: The Greater OKC Pickleball Club assisted the USTA Oklahoma Tennis Foundation at their request in a “Learn to Play Pickleball” fundraiser for their group on Sunday, August 26th at Oak Tree Country Club in Edmond. Fifty paid participants came together, tennis and pickleball players alike, to play pickleball and enjoy fellowship! There was a fun raffle and tennis/pickleball clubs around the Metro generously donated items. USAPA Ambassador Sherry Prince of Boulevard Paddles contributed a new paddle to the raffle.
There were 4 ambassadors from the USAPA (Sherry Prince, Brian Richardson, Rocky Arrington and Jayne Underwood) and an additional 10 members from the Greater Oklahoma City Pickleball Club who helped coach. GOKCPB Club has over 500 members in the metro now and continues growth each year.
As Carmen Bond, USTA-OK Foundation Development Director in charge of the event said, “Tennis and Pickleball – better together!” Each pickleball coach and ambassador was given a USTA-OK Tennis visor in appreciation for our help.
We know the tennis players had a good time because we had to start packing away nets to get them to leave at the designated stopping time! (Great job, Jayne). (Photos below and next page)
The OK City PB volunteers.
Tennis & PB getting together and having fun.
Rocky Arrington (OK City, OK) provides more proof of the growth of PB in his area: In Oklahoma City we are seeing some great things happen. Ambassadors Brian Richardson, Rocky Arrington and GOPB club member Tom Hamilton met with Oklahoma City Parks and Recreation in hope of developing a partnership. After two meetings we were granted permission to mark pickleball courts on underused/unused tennis courts. By mid September we will be marking outdoor courts at Sellers Park and Northwest Optimist Parks in OkC! And in a two-week period at least 90 potential pickleball players were exposed to our game at two demos. Ambassador Brian Richardson led a demo at The Greens Tennis Center with 40 participants. Another 50 tennis players were introduced to pickleball in a demo at Oaktree Tennis Center led by Ambassadors Jayne Underwood and Sherry Prince. THEN at three GOPB sites another 30 newbies took lessons. Two new sites are being added to our locations in OkC.
It is a fun time here. (It sure sounds and looks like it is fun)).
Yvonne Mansour (Buda, TX) sent the following: Buda Pickleball recently completed its 1st Annual Buda Pickleball Tournament and was hosted by the Hays Communities YMCA in Buda. The tournament was a huge success! Sixteen teams (32 players) competed in the tournament which consisted of Pool Play (4 pools) and the winning team of each pool competed in a Playoff for 1st – 4th place medals. The Playoff Matches were refereed by Amy Yarbrough (USAPA Ambassador-San Marcos Area) and her mixed-doubles partner Randall Wood. About 20 volunteers from Buda Pickleball worked to make sure all aspects of the tournament went smoothly. One of the goals of the tournament was to promote and grow the sport of pickleball. A tri-fold flyer was designed as a handout for spectators and gave a brief overview of pickleball and invited them to join the group during Open Play.
Also, Buda Pickleball now has its own logo and Facebook page. One of the players in the group volunteered to serve as Chair of the Publicity Committee for the tournament. As he was designing the tournament flyer he came up with the idea of a logo. He incorporated the design into tournament t-shirts which look amazing. (photo below) (logo in background)
Yvonne also shared that the YMCA recently videoed our group to promote the pickleball program. This will help to build on our momentum just coming off of the 1st Annual Buda Pickleball program hosted by the YMCA last week. Lots of fun stuff happening in our little pickleball world. (your ‘little world’ is growing)
Pat Heurtin (St Francisville, LA) notes that they have added two permanent outdoor courts at their West Feliciana Parish Sports Park. These courts were originally tennis quick-start courts and were almost never used. We convinced the park officials to get the court lines painted for pickleball. Once that was done, then the nets had to be fixed to have the proper height. Very happy to announce that this has happened. They werre completed just in time for some cooler, fall weather. (new court photo below) and next page) are some of the 28 players who attended our Labor Day Fun Day Celebration.
Pat recently gave a presentation to the "Lunch & Learn" staff members at the East Louisiana Mental Hospital in Jackson, LA.. The invitation came from Benjamin Mercer, Human Resources, who has become a member of the West Feliciana Pickleball Club and wishes to get a group organized in their area. The staff members in attendance were quite excited about giving this game a try and plan to organize a 'road trip' to the WF Parish Sports Park to not only observe the game being played but to get the opportunity to give it a try. Ben and I took a look at some old tennis courts and feel that with some work, their dream of having some courts could very well happen.
Pat also spoke with a Bains Elem. PE Teacher who now has p'ball scheduled for the spring. That teacher will also have use of the gym. Pat has been working with Bains and donating PB stuff for some time now.
Kari-Ladd (Weatherford, TX) mentions Val Spacher doing a great job instructing the weekly Haws Women’s Friday Clinic and sends a pic of four PB courts on under-used starter tennis courts in Weatherford. ( photo below)
Mike Goldberg (Katy, TX) reminds us of several upcoming events in the Houston area plus others…
Another Rowlett Rumble Fall Smash will happen at Herfurth Park in Rowlett, TX (near Dallas) October 5-7. It's an age group tournament with divisions up to 80+. Contact Susan Henderson at email@example.com for information.
The Grand Prairie Senior Games will include pickleball on October 19-21 in Grand Prairie, TX (Near Dallas.) It's a double elimination tournament with age groups up to 70+. Contact Chris Ginapp at 972-237-4141 or firstname.lastname@example.org for info.
The Super Senior World Championships will be at Robson Ranch in Denton, TX on October 23-25. Contact Ford
Roberson at 325-280-0044 or email@example.com for information.
There is now a HOUSTON PICKLEBALL MEETUP GROUP on the web, where you can list or find out about local events, find playing or practice partners or coaches, ask questions about strategies or techniques and see what others think of new paddles/balls/net sets. You can join the group by going to https://www.meetup.com/Houston-Pickleball-Meetup/ . And contact Mike if you'd like to post a new pickleball meetup event. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
And plan now to play in or attend the 2018 USAPA National Championships in Indian Wells, CA (yes, the Indian
Wells tennis stadium complex) from November 3 - November 11. You can see or play with thousands of the best players in the world and have a great vacation at the same time! It will have every level and age group, plus a junior event, with up to 40 courts. Go to the USAPA website or contact email@example.com for information, and go to PickleballTournaments.com to register.
Larry Patrick (Hot Springs, AR) is hosting the following:
Jo Honeycutt and Susan Henderson celebrated their gold bling by getting VERY SERIOUS for their picture at the recent Great Plains Regional. (Way to go, ladies).
The USAPA Mid-South Regional (2019) general and lodging info is now available for viewing on (pickleballtournaments.com). This is important since there is a NASCAR event in the Denton/Dallas area during Mid-South. Now is a great time to make any needed reservations at a great rate. The event dates are March 28-31. Please share this info with players in your area. Registration opens Nov 1st.
Don’t forget about our Mid-South Ambassador Facebook page. Only Mid-South ambassadors can join. Please get in touch with Barb Patterson at (firstname.lastname@example.org) to join.
If you are hosting any kind of PB related event, please let Tim Dean (Mid-South Webmaster) know. We would especially like to have ALL tournaments in our region listed there. No sense having two events that are close by competing for players. Work it out so you and the other event are spaced out some so players can go to both events. Tim’s email is (email@example.com) and our Mid-South Website is: (www.midsouthusapa.com).
I also attended the Great Plains Regional in Colorado Springs. Had a lot of fun in this well-run event. I did take a break and my wife and I went to the top of Pikes Peak, which is a little over 14,000 feet above sea level. I took my paddle and ball to hit some, but as you can see, the court was covered in that white stuff I rarely get to see. I couldn’t even find the court because there is not one up there. If I HAD hit the ball, it would have gone out of sight considering the thinness of the air. (22 degrees wind chill)