Monday, October 27, 2008

Having Fun At the Labor Day Jamboree!

Rich Donald, Travis Weaver (a visitor to MeadowPointe) Steve Long, Mary Jones and Don Bass, chat between games and check out the competition.

Louann Dubendorf and the Kings Point Pickleball League hosted the Second Annual Labor Day Pickleball Jamboree in Sun City Center, Florida on Saturday September 6th. It was hurricane season in Florida, so participants watched closely for days as Hanna’s path threatened their event, but the weather cooperated and gave the players a beautiful pickleball day!

This annual event brings pickleball players of all levels together for a day of social mix and mingles play. Upon arrival at the event, all players received their name tags, a goodie bag with pen and scorecards to track their games, along with snacks and bottled water…AND a helpful hint from Professor Pick L. Ball to remember to “Keep Your Eye On The Ball”!

Don Bass plays in Men's Doubles. Mary and Steve play Mixed Doubles.

Everyone gathered at the event schedule posted at the courts to see what time they played and who they would be challenging. The name tags were a great idea in helping to locate your opponents. We had a great time meeting new players from Kings Point, from Englewood, Florida, and from Tanglewood, in Sebring, Florida. The whistle blew at 8:00 AM sharp to kick off the first mixed doubles partner challenge. A total of 53 players registered for the event, and teams rotated on and off the court every fifteen minutes until early afternoon to complete 57 scheduled games. Leaving the court, each team was responsible for posting their total game points, so highest point winners could be determined. We didn't win any High Scoring Ribbons, but we had fun!

Between games, participants found lunch available either poolside or at the Club House, visited or lunched with new found pickleball players, or checked out the new merchandise soon to be offered on Louann Dubendorf’s new website. She has designed some great new pickleball t-shirts, and had her Pickleball Bug T-shirt available at the event. Steve was "Bitten by the Pickleball Bug" and took home his new T-shirt!

You can visit her site and check in with Professor Pick L. Ball for your pickleball tips at . More information on the Kings Point League and their events is available at

To to see more pictures of the Labor Day Jamboree click on Labor Day Jamboree 2008 in the PHOTO GALLERY

(As Posted in the Monthly Meadow Pointe II Newsletter)

Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the country today. It has found its way into our community and is gaining popularity very quickly with our residents. Surely some of you in Meadow Point have seen us playing on the tennis courts with balls and paddles that do not resemble tennis equipment at all. What is that game? And why is it called Pickleball?

The game of pickleball was introduced in the summer of 1965 on Brainbridge Island in the Puget Sound area of Washington, by Bill Bell, US Congressman Joel Pritchard and Barney McCallum. While playing the game, Pickles, the Pritchard’s cocker spaniel took a great interest in the game, particularly the ball, and would continually fetch the ball and hide it in the bushes and thus he managed to get the game named after him. The USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) was formed in 1972 and the first official rule book was published. And, did you know that the very first national tournament was played right here in the State of Florida? Today the game has found its way into middle and high school PE classes as well as the Sr. Olympics competitions in several states.

The game captures your interest because it can be played by all ages, requires little equipment or cost and is easy to learn. Pickleball is an exciting game that is played on a badminton size court with the net lowered to 34 inches at the center. It is played with a perforated plastic ball, similar to a whiffle ball, and wood or composite paddles. While easy for beginners to learn, it can develop into a quick, fast-paced, competitive game for the experienced player. There are three unique facets of the game not found in any other racquet sport; the underhand serve, the double bounce rule and the non-volley zone. Like tennis it can be played as a Singles or Doubles game, and points are earned only when serving. The game is played to 11 points.

Rich and Donna Donald are Meadow Pointe Residents and Local Ambassadors for USAPA, and sit on the USAPA Planning Committee for the Atlantic South Region. They introduced the game to two of their friends in Meadow Point about a year ago. Today you may see as many as 15 or 18 players rotating play on the courts on any given evening. In February, Rich and Donna, with a league from Sun City Center, demonstrated the game with Charlie Belcher on Fox 13’s Good Day Tampa Bay. In April, Meadow Pointe residents, Don Bass and Renee Glassman joined the Donalds in a pickleball demonstration at the Nancy Bartles Middle School in Tampa, and would love to do the same next year right here at the John Long Middle School and the Wiregrass Ranch High School. Both Rich and Donna have competed in the Florida Senior Games and have brought the Gold Medals home to Wesley Chapel. Rich will be playing in the Men’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles at the Florida State Championship Games in December in Ft. Myers/Cape Coral. Florida will also be host the National Pickleball Tournament in Ft Myers in 2009.

The Pickleball League plays every Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings rotating between the courts at MPI and MPII. Our players range from 14 years old, to Senior Citizens, so anyone reading this article can play!!! We get a little exercise, have some friendly competition, make some great new friends and have a lot of fun. However, we must caution you THE GAME IS ADDICTIVE !!

If you have tennis courts in your area, they can quickly be lined for pickleball. If you are interested in learning to play or learning more about the game, please contact Rich or Donna Donald 813-313-9265 / Or Renee Glassman at 813-907-7521 / For more information about the game visit or our Atlantic South Regional Blog at
To see more photos, click on Meadow Poine Players in the PHOTO GALLERY

Coach Megan Leahy Brings Pickleball Demo to the Nancy Bartles Middle School in Tampa, Florida.

Front Row: Megan Leahy, Physical Education Specialist, Nancy Bartles Middle School, Tampa, Florida, and Donna Donald

Back Row: Rich Donald, Don Bass and Renee Glassman

We were thrilled when Coach Megan Leahy from the Bartles Middle School, near our home in Wesley Chapel, Florida, invited us to her school. Ms. Leahy told us she had played pickleball in college and loved it, so decided to introduce the game to her Physical Education Class. They loved it too!!! That probably had a lot to do with how well she plays the game, and the enthusiasm and excitement she generates when she’s on the court with her class . Then she saw the Kings Point Pickleball League, with reporter Charlie Belcher playing on TV! Because her class was enjoying the game so much, she saw a potential visit from local players as an opportunity for her students to experience the game at a different level and to learn more about the rules and techniques needed to improve their game.

Don Bass and Renee Glassman, along with Rich and Donna Donald, didn’t hesitate to say yes when asked to assist us with a pickleball demo for the students. We would be guests during their regularly scheduled class, so our time was limited to just about one hour. Not a lot of time; we needed to use it wisely. Anticipating about 50 young people to be attending; we needed an agenda that would keep them interested and involved.

During the initial introductions we explained that Rich was a multi medal winner. That was exciting for them and even more so when told that several of them would have an opportunity to volley and do some practice drills with us on the courts. Rich addressed the group, talking about the history of the game and how it got its name. We were very impressed with how well the students had prepared for the day. They had visited USAPA on line prior to our visit, so they did a super job both asking great questions and giving some pretty good answers too. Rich emphasized safety on the courts, talked about the size of the court, the rules of the game and where to best position yourself on the court when playing. With the help of Don and Renee and Donna, Rich demonsted a proper serve as well as the groundstroke, volley, lob and dink shots, emphasizing placement over power.

Then we played a game for the group. Rich and Renee took the lead, so it was really exciting to hear the group cheering for Don and Donna to catch up!!!! After the game, several of the students rotated on to the court. Some practiced the serve, some the serve and volley, and others practiced doing a drill with dink shots. Even Coach Leahy came on the court to play with her classmates!

We closed with our official “Pickle Ceremony”. All of the students were officially sworn in and recited an oath to always promote this great game, to play safely, to always demonstrate good sportsmanship, and to always have FUN! We provided each student with a handout providing safety tips on the court, strategies to improve their game, and Pickleball Trivia and Word Find Games. Each student also received their official green Pickle Pin.

Great news is that Coach Leahy has promised to come play with our group in Meadow Point II, now that she knows we play regularly. Her students are welcome too, and we hope some of them are excited enough to bring their parents with them. We left our contact information with her, should students/parents want to contact us. We’ve also offered to meet with her and her students after school at any time for additional coaching, practice drills and playing. There were some students with great potential…………Maybe we just inspired a future Florida State Champion!!!

We had so much fun with these young people. Contact the local middle or high school in your area and take time to share your talents. You will find it personally very rewarding.