SaddleBrooke Pickleball Association (SPA) has been well represented at many tournaments this season. I recently caught up with a couple of SPA members for their thoughts.
Jim Lorenz plays several tournaments each year. One reason he plays is to gauge his play with the “big world out there”. Additionally, it is fun to find a partner with the same temperament and ability and then practice to play together competitively. Dealing with stress and the build-up of tension before and during a match helps him learn how to manage it. Jim has also met some great people playing tournaments. “I guess my best memory is winning gold, excitedly riding home with my partner, and deciding to call my wife to pass along the good news. She said, ‘Nice, but don’t forget to pick up the milk.’ Her comment made me remember that it’s only pickleball,” Jim quips.
At least fifteen members participated in the Tucson Senior Olympic Festival held in January at Kino Sports Complex in Tucson. This is a beautiful multi-use facility with 20 brand-new, lighted, competition-style pickleball courts. Some of the competitors were Sue Deskovich, Dirk Anderson, Terri Anderson, Mike Owens, Gary Stevens, Cheryl Simpson, Walter Fritz, Janet Jensen, David Johnson, Kristy Johnson, Denise Leksell, Jim Lorenz, Randy Olson, Gary Stithem, and Bill Walker.
Cheryl Simpson comments, “This was my partner’s, Janet Jensen, and my first time playing a tournament. We were both very impressed by the quality of play. Seeing that it took at least three people to run each match gave us a sense of how much coordination it takes to run a three-day tournament. It was fun being in the winners’ bracket as long as we were! We learned a lot and were inspired by watching others play. Many of the competitors who inspired us the most included SPA friends and co-members, some of whom made it to the final medal round. Hats off to all who played. I would definitely do this again.” Cheryl and Janet earned a bronze medal in 3.0, 50+ Women’s Doubles.
After competing in one’s first tournament, there is a risk of catching “tournament fever.” Just like the game itself, it is addictive to be part of an energized group focused on measuring themselves against their competitive set. If you have felt the adrenaline rush of playing pickleball competitively, it is hard to resist recreating those fluttery stomach butterflies and the feeling that comes from conquering them on the court.