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Spring Fling Pickleball

By on May 31, 2017
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Spring Fling Pickleball Fun Fundraiser 2017

Held April 22, 2017 • Maplewood YMCA, 25 Driving Park Avenue, Rochester

Building community on the courts

An Essay by Wendy Cooper, Founder Healthy Highway

I was introduced to the game of pickleball back in the 90’s on a court in Florida where my parents lived. I waited until 2009 for it to reach Rochester, New York. I am now addicted… and I will tell you why. I enjoy the action of the game but it is the people I have had the privilege of meeting that has been my best gift. The friendships, the stories, the camaraderie, and community continue to grow every year I play. A perfect example of the power of community was demonstrated in the Spring Fling Pickleball Fun Fundraiser that I had the honor of directing in April.

Twenty-four players from around the area came together to play in a round robin format, but what made this unique was that each game was with a different partner and with different people. These people would never have had the opportunity to play together if it was not for the power of pickleball. Scores were reported but were only for display. Awards were given for the following: the most “udderly” exhausted player; the fastest “hoofed” player; the best “barn burner” shot of the day; the best “cow-munication” between partners, and the best “mooove” on the court.

Why the “cow” idioms? Because the second community-building construct of this event was that it was a fundraiser for a non-profit called Humans for Education.  This organization raises money to support schools in Kenya by making a commitment to support sustainable economic development, quality education, and ensure that health and sanitation is available for all students. Humans for Education assists in developing and strategically delivering innovative solutions and quality education to combat the global educational deficit.  Cows are purchased to help these schools be self-sustainable so the “cows on the court” event not only brought our community together, but helped a community on the other side of the world.

For more information visit www.humansforeducation.org

Healthy snacks were served, a local musician donated her time to come and play, and local vendors came to teach the players new healthy choices. Players could enjoy a chair massage, get a free nutrition evaluation and learn about healthier cookie choices.

25179464 - pickleball action - senior woman striking ballThe best story that came from this day was from one of the “senior” players that had not won a game all day. The last game she played was with a “slightly” younger partner and they won. He put his arm around her as they walked of the court, both players smiling from ear to ear. This is how it should bb.

AND…did I mention the “medals” were cow bells?

AND….we sent a pickleball net, balls and 4 paddles to Kenya!

So as you are on the court, smile at that new player, give an encouraging word, ask how your partner is and listen to what they say. You may be surprised at what you receive in return.

NOTE ON PICKLEBALL IN GREECE: Pickleball is a paddle sport created for all ages and skill levels. The rules are simple and the game is easy to learn. Played with a paddle and plastic ball, pickle ball is a fun sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong. It is estimated that nationwide over 100,000 players are actively playing the sport.

In May of 2015 the Town of Greece opened their new Pickleball courts at the Greece Town Hall Campus. Located on the north side of the Greece Community Center there are six courts available for Pickleball play. For more information on the Pickleball courts, leagues and opportunities to play call the Community Center at 723-2425.