• Tim Pitts

Pickle and Pig

Nothing better than a Saturday afternoon of pickleball followed by an old-fashioned pig roast sponsored by Chris Kader and the good folks at the Franklin Creek Sports Complex. Actually, this was an event for tennis and bocce as well, but, as I’m paid an enormous stipend to write only about pickleball, I’ll leave the other court sports to someone more qualified.

Pickleballs’ own Alex Fox used his bottomless well of talents to create the ideal format. Thirty-nine pickleball players of all levels joined Court Sports professional Thomas Karle who is soon to be a certified pickleball teaching pro, and commenced play promptly at 4:00PM. Each was assigned a partner. After completing a game, the winning team moved up a court and split and the losing team moved down a court and also split. The format was designed so that players of all levels played with each other but never more than once.

Immediately after the double’s competition ended, several players took to the courts for a dinking contest. To the uninitiated, dinking is a not very exciting, yet vitally important part of the game. The idea is to softly hit, or “dink”, the ball into the opposing players “kitchen” (No Volley Zone) while waiting for the competition to make a mistake. As noted, it’s not exciting, that is until either player gets the opportunity to take advantage of an opponent’s mistake. Then it's game on.

While play was competitive, the purpose of the event was to ensure that everyone had fun, played with club members with whom they’d never played and maybe didn’t know, and promote pickleball as an inclusive social sport with a very competitive component. In short, the event did all that and more. According to Charlie Bradford, “This is just the kind of event we need to raise the level of pickleball awareness.” Charlie might be right, but with the numbers of Landings pickleball players exploding at a rate faster than we can build courts, one has to wonder how much more awareness pickleball needs. Afterall, it’s already the fastest growing sport in America! The good news is that four new courts are on the way. Ground breaking is imminent and completion is expected before the end of the year.

After pickleball, tennis and bocce ended, most competitors reconvened on the terrace of the Court Sports pro shop to enjoy a sumptuous feast of barbequed pork, fried chicken, coleslaw and, of course, ample rounds of Landings pour. Dinner was a terrific end to an altogether very good day.

My advice to those who did not participate: sign up for the next pickleball social event. They’re just too damn fun to miss.