MID-SOUTH REGION NEWSLETTER
(USAPA MIDSOUTH REGION NONPROFIT)
Jeff Lyons (Houston, TX) has recently been approved as an Ambassador for our Region.
He has been playing about 2 ½ years at PB venues in CA and in the Houston area. Jeff will fill a need in an underserved area of Houston.
Gail Stillwell (San Angelo, TX) shares that this is our first of many more tournaments we hope to have at our YMCA. They started opening their gym on M/W/F mornings for open play. They started open gym just this past December. We had 24 players sign up to play. The staff at the Y did a great job. They want to have another tournament this spring. The Y is expanding by building another gym in another part of town. After seeing the success and interest they are now making sure to include pickleball courts. (Good report from the sparce, West District). J) Thanks Gail. (photo below)
Daniel Roose (Plano, TX) reveals that Michael Cain from Salvation Army Plano contacted me in November about starting pickleball at their facility. The email he sent was through USAPA and an unexpected surprise. “My wife (Tua) and I looked at the gym and thought it would be a great place to start pickleball open play. We taped the lines and immediately sent out notice to the picklball community that we had a new place to play. Christmas is a very busy time for Salvation Army and their facility, but starting January 9th we started open play five days a week. I believe our pickleball community is underserved, this additional facility will alleviate crowding at the existing gyms.
I continue to promote pickleball through my job. I started a Dallas Pilots Pickleball Group. Our group is small but enthusiastic. Because of schedule, family and the distances we all have to travel in the metroplex, we only get together once a month.
Also job related, I take several paddles with me when I go to work. I’ve introduced many pilots to pickleball and have had the opportunity to play in many locales.
My wife and I started a small pickleball group in our community. We also taped lines for two courts on our neighborhood tennis court. We play outside regularly and have made several new friends.
I update the Places To Play App with the current courts in Plano. In addition I updated places out of our area that we regularly play at. I also added four courts that were not previously mentioned. The new courts are Salvation Army Plano, Ridgeview Ranch in Plano, Savannah Tennis courts in Little Elm and Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano.
Future plans and goals include recruiting my wife to be a Pickleball Ambassador, attaining instructor status, hosting a referee clinic in Plano, and growing the groups I previously mentioned.”
(Photos next page) (GREAT report, Dan)
(PB players ringing and 1st time players below)
Mary Latimer (Mercedes, TX) shares a recap of an awesome event held on South Padre Island. “Places to play on the island are quite limited but organizers of this event managed to fill the South Padre Island Convention Center. As local USAPA Ambassadors, my husband and I were happy to help instruct new players. This is the 2nd year we have helped with pickleball on Padre and certainly hope they can host this event again next year!”
This article was written by event coordinator, Simone Koehler.
“A very successful ‘Pickleball Event’ was held at the SPI Convention Center on January 20-21. The event brought 183 participants from all ranges of play.
We held 2 beginner classes that attracted 48 new players along with coaches for those just starting.
We as pickleball players would like to extend a big thank you to the Convention Center for hosting our event. We love the space and are so grateful for the maintenance folks who spent many hours to make it happen for us.
Debbie Huffman at the SPI Community Center worked extremely hard to make sure we had everything we needed from proper advertising to nets to paddles to tape for the courts.
Our coaches are ALL volunteers who love the sport and are happy to share their experience and teach beginners. We had coaches come forward from not only local areas but as far reaching as Mercedes, Tx. A huge thank you to each and every one of them.
Overwhelming comments from the beginner were "Thank you so much...We are hooked and cannot wait to play again!" and "We loved our coach!"
We look forward to being a part of the next event. Thank you for allowing us to bring pickleball to the Island. “
(This is great, Mary) (Photos next page.)
Pat Heurtin (St Francisville, LA) shares her thoughts re the recently completed Ambassador Retreat:
AMBASSADOR RETREAT A REAL TREAT…….A word of advice to all you fellow ambassadors, especially in our Mid-South Region, make plans to attend a USAPA AMBASSADORS RETREAT SOON if at all possible. You won’t regret it!!
This 2020 Retreat, held at Club Med, Sandpiper, in Port St. Lucie, FL, was my first and hopefully won’t be my last. I figured at age 79, I’d best get busy attending while I can and I’m so happy I made that decision.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE RETREAT
5 nights & 6 days accommodations, all inclusive stay, at Club Med Sandpiper, American’s best sports & wellness resort. [I almost signed up for the trapeze school, but……]
All food, drink, activities, wi fi & tips included.
Workshops, round-tables, seminars, and information sharing with the USAPA Ambassadors and Board Members from across the country
Pickleball courts for open play and pickleball fun!
*Price included the annual Club Med membership fee and travel insurance.
Examples of some of the sessions are as follows:
Meet & Greet with all the RD’s…Regional Directors
Ambassador Handbook Training
Sponsor Showcase Shuffle…..this was on the courts where we learned fun games such as Squirrel Crossing, King of the Court, Dink Relay, and Pass the Paddle plus began meeting some of the sponsors and trying out new paddles!!
Who, What, When, Where….all about USAPA STAFF and who receives what info
[amazing….had no idea so many people were involved]
Back on the Courts with Nicole Hobson with PPR. Also on the courts with Jason Jamison and Hope Tully learning all about working with beginning players of all ages. Jason urged all of us to play with our non-dominant hand to get a better understanding of how the beginner feels!!
Other aspects I really enjoyed and appreciated……USAPA Board Members were encouraged to share meals with ambassadors and this proved to be quite valuable. It helps one, such as myself, see the much larger picture of the world of pickleball.
Last but not least was the wonderful roommate I was assigned, Susan McNamara of Braintree, MA. She had started some safety initiatives in her area which I plan to duplicate. And speaking of duplicating, one of the Regional Director’s stated that RD actually meant ROB AND DUPLICATE. No need to reinvent the wheel! We were encouraged to bring printed items to hang-up so others could snap a photo. Great stuff shared.
Other sessions were Officiating – Peer 2 Peer stressing that Ambassadors really need to be up on their rules. Teambuilding, Youth Program Provider Training, & Tournament & Competition, & Wheelchair Pickleball.
Yes, I could write lots more, but I will end here with the words THANK YOU RETREAT COMMITTEE. YOU DID A SUPER JOB.
(Fantastic report, Pat…Glad you had fun & a great learning experience)
Chuck Flanagan (Georgetown, TX) shares his most recent contribution to his club’s monthly newsletter:
Do you subscribe to the “Pickleball Channel”? If not, you should! The Pickleball Channel is a web site showing videos to all things pickleball, By subscribing, you get regular links to exciting pickleball videos of great matches, pro tips, and interviews with people in the pickleball industry. The reason I’m bringing this up now is that I just watched a great pickleball match that showed elements of some of the things I’ve written in this column over the past year. The match is the Pro Mixed Doubles Bronze Medal Match from the 2019 Franklin Pickleball Masters at Chicken n’ Pickle in Wichita. It pitted Kyle Yates and Anna Leigh Waters vs Dave Weinbach and Leigh Waters. Anna Leigh, in case you don’t know, is the 12 year-old daughter of Leigh. Now to the match which you can watch here... https://tinyurl.com/qvcpttu
Sportsmanship - a third of the way through the second game (at the 28:00 minute mark) there is a controversy over a line call. While the ‘adults’ are busy arguing with the referee and judges, Anna Leigh steps up and says she saw the ball as, “out”, and concedes the point. And in case you don’t watch the video, the match winners will split $2,500 and the losers...well, lose. Kudos to Anna Leigh and her mom for raising her.
NVZ - the most questions I get concern the non-volley zone and game two of this match contains two of the more unusual (and least called) violations. The match was officiated by a referee, four line judges, and (this was key) an offside assistant referee, who was on his knees on the opposite side from the referee. This way he had a great look at the two incidents I’m mentioning. Both involved Dave Weinbach. In the first, he jumps back to hit a volley. However, he pushes off from the NVL and failed to contact the court with both feet outside the NVZ before striking the ball. This happens at the 25:30 mark. (Rule 9.D.)
The other NVZ violation occurs at the 46:40 mark when Dave volleys a dink and allows his paddle to touch the NVZ in his follow-through. (Rule 9.B.2.)
This was a very exciting match. These are four great players and there were some amazing points played as well as some NVZ rule tips as I mentioned above. I urge you to take some time to watch it.
While we’re on the subject of the NVZ, take another look at Rule 9.B. It seems pretty straightforward, doesn’t it? There is, however, an exception to this and it’s in the rule book. If you find it, send an email identifying the rule to: Chuck.firstname.lastname@example.org
(Excelent job as usual, with great info. Chuck)
The LA State Games PB Tournament in Monroe, LA will be held on May 30 & 31. This event is open to all ages. I will receive a flier in the next couple weeks,which I forward.
HAVE YOU DONE YOUR PART WITH UPDATING P2P???
Although we are in the final days prior to our proposed deadline, we need to continue to aim for 100% of the PB venues listed, and get them updated. (It may take a few days in Feb do complete this project.) Many thanks to those of you have gone above and beyond just updating those places near your hometown, but have helped your fellow ambassadors across your district.
I have asked those well above my pay grade to please either put a place for county, or district, name in each ‘Places2Play’ listing. That would help each and every one of us, especially District Ambassadors, in helping to figure out who should update which venues.
RECORD NUMBER, and other info
As I complete this letter, we are at 819 registrations for Mid-South…. and still have two weeks or so left before the deadline. Thanks for your help in promoting this event. (I certainly didn’t think we would get this many).
We will be having some ONIX pros coming in to work some intermediate and advanced clinics on ‘Set up day’, Wednesday, March 11th. They may also be able to fit in some private lessons as well. I will send out more info, hopefully, this coming week. Please forward to those on your email list, Facebook page, etc.
I am still receiving questions as to when those registered will be able to see who is in your groupings. In a little over two weeks’ time, the plan is to make them public, which is a few days after registration closes.
Want to volunteer for (or know someone who does) some aspect of the Mid-South experience? There are many opportunities from set-up, to take down, net check each morning, posting match results, handing out medals & taking pictures of award winners, food & hospitality, helping at the social, and more. Our Ref Coordinator, Bob Romagosa will send out notice of a sign up sheet to those of you who marked ‘referee’ or ‘line judge’ (on your own registration form), shortly after registration closes. All other volunteers can click on a link that will be found on the Mid-South website (www.midsouthusapa.com) or on the information page for our tournament on PBT, shortly BEFORE registration closes.
I have decided that I will put myself out to pasture at the end of March. I believe it is just the right time to do so. I have been doing this about 11 years and have really enjoyed every bit of it. (Even when I was the only person updating P2P for the whole region, which was 6 states at that time.) I hosted our first ‘ambassador dinner’ under my carport. I knew all ‘my’ ambassadors for several years. Now, I appreciate it when you walk up and say your name, reminding me who you are and exactly where you are located. Although I had planned on being at the recent ambassador retreat, I had a family obligation, so had to cancel that opportunity. (See Pat Heurtin’s report earlier in this letter to see what you missed). I will miss seeing you and chatting with you over the phone or in person. And…believe it or not, I will miss you sending me articles/pictures of info for this newsletter because it helps show me the excitement and growth of our region, which is due to our fantastic ambassadors and the energy you show. This newsletter is really written by you, I just put it together, maybe edited some, and then get it sent out. So once again, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you have done, or are doing to help grow our favorite game. I will still be here to help in any way possible.
And finally, many, many, many thanks to my wife, Susan, for putting up with me having almost a full room of PB stuff, not to mention, 16 net systems under all the beds in our house. She has been wonderful in allowing me to travel extensively in regards to PB. (She didn’t want me to write anything about her, but I told her if I did not, I would hear it loud and clear from those of you who know her. She is an angel, and I am glad to have her on MY team.
Want to take the challenge?? The ‘job’ of Regional Director for the Mid-South Region will be posted on the USAPA website early February.
MID-SOUTH REGION NEWSLETTER
I want to welcome Matthew Westmoreland (Corpus Christi, TX) and Daniel Roose (Plano, TX) as our most recently appointed ambassadors.
Matthew has been playing a year and began a PB program at the Country Club where he works, starting with three players. Within three weeks, that number increased to 18 active players. They have weekly socials and the goal is to eventually have a league with all the other clubs in the city.
Daniel has been playing more than three years at many venues in the DFW area. He has separately started two small groups of players and is encouraging and teaching them along the way. Daniel has volunteered to be a ref in numerous tournaments and wants to gain certification in that area while also wishing to become a certified instructor.
Heather Fisher (Dardanelle, AR) was recently approved for a USAPA Community Grant. Here is how: This grant will help bring the community together to play a fun sport for all ages. We have many young children and teens in the area that don’t have access to activities that will keep them active and off the streets. We have already seen the senior age group helping and bonding with the youth in teaching and learning the sport. We are currently using borrowed nets.
Val Oliver (Fort Worth, TX) notes that their courts at Lakeside, TX had our first "Pilot" Round Robin Tournament.
“It was my first attempt at organizing a tournament...great fun and a great success.” (Way to step out of your comfort zone. We need to get that done with players who are afraid to ref).
William Bartman (Tulsa, OK) shares that we just had a huge kids camp here in Glenpool, Ok that saw over 35 kids play PB! Many for the very first time. We worked on 3rd shot drops and dinking along with volleys! We have 3 more camps left. Each camp is every Tuesday in June and is an hour and half long and we provide lunch and shirts to each participant! (Great news, William).
Bruce Davie (Cherokee Village, AR) mentions that after a long process with the city, we are getting LED lights in the gym that we play in. This will provide us with twice the brightness of lighting and make our players very happy! Also I just converted one of our two tennis courts to a pickleball court. (another long process) Right now it is a single court over the tennis net, if enough people use it I will make it a two court set up.
Also in the works, (probably another long process) three dedicated outdoor pickleball courts. It is being considered and hopefully we will have things started in the next 12 months.
Slowly things here are happening. I guess slowly is better than not at all. (It certainly is. Kind of like needing to be patient when dinking, then when the opportunity shows itself…explosion time).
Michelle Eggimann (Rockport, TX) reports that Rockport is going to put in 3 permanent pickleball courts! “I had attended a city council meeting and a parks a rec meeting. Although most of them had never heard of Pickleball, they were all intrigued by my presentation and after the meeting when they searched the internet for more information, WOW! To their surprise, I wasn't kidding. The mayor has suggested these courts will be installed before the end of the year! Let's hope there are no slowdowns. I'm just so excited!!”
(Great job, Michelle…it seems you were fully prepared).
Terry Stone & Jo Lynn Anderson (Houston, TX) have had an initial discussion with our local school district and has gotten approval to teach pickleball to the PE teachers as part of their inservice the 2nd week in August. (Way to get PB into the schools).
Is Kari-Ladd (Weatherford, TX) reports that Our Haws women’s clinics has grown tremendously. I’m not sure how many players Val Spacher has touched, but more than a hundred. Today we had 24 there and she decided on the spot to add another two hours to divide us into two groups. I call us, Val’s Gals!
Larry Patrick (Hot Springs, AR) is proud to show their new designated PB courts in Hot Springs. They are open and free to the public with led lighting. This is the home court of Team Vulcan pickleball and where I give lessons to beginner to intermediate players from all over and is listed on places to play. These courts are provided by a private company that loves and supports our growing sport. (Impressive)
Mike Goldberg (Katy, TX) reminds us that the The Houston Alzheimer's Benefit Tournament entry deadline is approaching and there are still a few open spots, primarily in the 50-64 age divisions. A current list of teams and the registration form are posted at
The SUMMER GAMES OF TEXAS will be held in College Station from the 25th to 27th of July. It includes MD,WD and MXD plus a Super Senior event. You can register on www.pickleballtournaments.com
Barb Patterson (Georgetown, TX) shares that the Sun City PB Club raised over $2600 in their annual ‘Big Bopper’ Olympic style tournament. Events included water volleyball, horseshoe pitching, and putting. (pics below and next page…and a big congratulations to the club members for supporting this worthy cause).
(That (previous page) was NOT one of the events, but it could have been).
Chuck Flanagan (Georgetown, Tx) reports…
Pat Heurtin (St Francisville, LA) tells us that thirty-two summer day campers from the West Feliciana Parish Parks & Rec. had a fun morning with seven volunteers from the West Feliciana Pickleball Club. Richard Stalder, Debby Lilly, Linda Duhe, Cissy Holcomb, Catherine Landry, Stephanie Fontenot, and Ambassador Pat Heurtin had set-up 4 stations with all activities focusing on hand/eye coordination.
Every child got to experience each station for 10 - 15 minutes before having to rotate.
At the conclusion of the session, the campers were told the story of how pickleball began [the dog named Pickles version] and then watched four of the club members play a short game while Pat Heurtin narrated the action, explaining some of the basic rules.
The Club Members have been invited back for late July to teach the youngsters more pickleball skills before having to return to school.
Jamie Elliott (McKinney, TX) has been an ambassador for several years. I received her permission to print the following: I wanted to keep you updated on me, as I'm not doing any pb right now. I've set a goal for Dec.
As you probably know, my right leg was paralyzed during surgery. Just barely over 2 months, since surgery, I'm walking with a walker, small distances, then I'm back in wheelchair. I feel my progress is going good, with OT and PT. Of course not as fast as I want, but nerve endings are on their own schedule.
Before this latest episode, I had talked to the pastor and youth director at the church , I attend, about starting pb in their gym. They were excited about it being something new for the youth, members, and inviting outside community in to play or learn.
Again, I have set a goal to be up and about by Dec, so hopefully get my Ambassador duties back on track.
(We are proud of your determination and the setting of goals to get back to PB as soon as possible)
A former ambassador, Jim Bauser, passed away recently. He was one of the first ambassadors in the Houston area and is responsible for much of the ‘early days’ growth of PB. He will be missed not only for his love of PB, but also for his ability to enjoy meeting and helping many players grow their game. He will be missed.
Are you or your group putting on a tournament? Be sure to add your event to the Mid-South website (www.midsouthusapa.com). The more events we add to this tournament list, the better chance you will not be competing for players/donors with another tournament being held ‘down the street’.
If you are an ambassador, you are invited to join the Mid-South Ambassador Facebook page. Contact Barb Patterson at (email@example.com).
I have been in Albuquerque helping to run the NSGA National Tournament. We had 1166 players from 48 states plus DC and three Canadian provinces and our event consisted of ten days of competition (the longest tournament, days-wise). A couple of other interesting tidbits from this event: There were 2,354 matches and 10 gold-medal matches that went to the 1 to 15 tie breaker before completion. We also had the largest bracket ever, with 77 teams in MX 65-69. I know you probably won’t be able to read it, but there is a photo of this bracket below. We couldn’t line the top bracket with the lower one because it was so large, hence the diagonal upper bracket.
Randy Johnson (Jonesboro, AR) is the latest
addition to our Mid-South Ambassador family.
He has been playing over twelve years as he taught the game in both junior high and high school physical education classes. He also assisted in setting up a demo at the local community center. With the cooperation of the Jonesboro Parks & Rec Dept, they are utilizing one of the city’s community centers for PB play. Beginning next month, there is a plan to be included in the city’s rec budget for the purchase of additional equipment. “Our Parks & Rec director hopes to have us introduce PB to children in two of our local school aftercare programs.” Please welcome Randy when you have a chance to do so.
Hailey Lada (Jenks, OK) was recently awarded a USAPA Grant . Here is how she did it: Jenks West Intermediate school services 987 students in the Jenks community. They have recently adopted a "healthy and fit club" in an attempt to promote healthy lifestyles. My goal is to add pickleball into our options for activities! Many students of JWI have never heard of the sport. I love that kids of all ages, and varying physical levels can enjoy this sport. Our school has students from all walks of life and I know this sport will be a blessing to them!
With a grant from USAPA we will be able to purchase the needed supplies to launch this program. (To watch Hailey’s daughter, Avery, give a presentation to her school principal and others regarding wanting to start a PB club at the school, click on the link below).
(Congratulations, Hailey & Avery).
Jamie Elliott (McKinney, TX) and her PB Club raised $948 for the Salvation Army in just three hours. (Great work).