Thursday, April 11, 2013

Palm Beach County Pickleball

The Delray Beach/Boynton Beach pickleball group has welcomed many new faces over the past months during Tuesday and Thursday play at the Delray Beach Community Center and Saturday play at Caloosa Park in Boynton Beach. Some players are in Florida on vacation, while others live here year-round or during the winter season. Whoever shows up, we seem to make it work and have a good time. Diane and Pete Sepetanc, two veteran players from Canada, even introduced a way to rotate in players to maximize the mix of partners throughout the morning.

Ambassador Josh Kalin and Harriet Kalin
Coordinators extraordinaire who launched pickleball
in Palm Beach County
 Our group has introduced the game to beginners coming to the community center and to the park, and in an effort to spread the word about the sport, we’ve also conducted a “roadshow” demonstration at a tennis center in Boca Raton (which attracted 150 people!), at Valencia Isles and at Palm Greens. Hats off to Harriet Kalin and ambassador Josh Kalin, who have coordinated many details and operations of the various programs. In general, our experienced players have helped to educate newcomers at other locations as well. 

Thanks to the efforts of Eileen Tuckman and pickleball ambassador Bob Musella, Boynton Beach has agreed to sponsor pickleball on Monday and Friday mornings at the city’s community center. Play started there on March 11, and the gym accommodates three nets. On the first day, many new players arrived, and one court is dedicated to introducing novices to the sport. Ambassador Dick Freshley and his wife, Verna, played at the new location recently and were impressed with the facility.

Ambassador Bob Musella and Eileen Tuckman
Coordinators of play in Boynton Beach
A fun challenge match between Valencia Isles and the Delray group took place at Caloosa Park. Outdoor play has been tricky there because of the wind, but the day of the challenge the breeze was slight. Thanks to Eileen Tuckman, Bob Musella and Fred Markowitz for organizing and running the match! 

Our group is also working with the Palm Beach County recreation department on plans to open up more pickleball courts at Caloosa Park. An unused hockey rink would accommodate at least three more nets, and the county has asked the group to come up with a proposal about what is needed. As the game grows in popularity, it is important to have more courts.

Lastly, local newspapers have published several articles about pickleball, which has definitely helped to spread the word in Palm Beach County. Maybe the TV stations will show up next!

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