After many years absence, it was a delight to spend 10 days or so visiting relatives who had recently moved from Manitoulin Island to Stittsville a suburb of Ottawa and home of the Canadian Tire Center – the hockey arena that houses the Ottawa Senators . My brother – in – law and I took in a game – overtime and shootout which was quite entertaining in this beautiful venue for hockey. Also in another double rink facility, I saw my nephew Abe score his first goal of the season in the first game, shooting a rocket shot from the blueline. As we travelled from place to place it was nice to see the leaves turning following a fall heat wave experienced in Ontario. Ottawa has many sights to see , most notable was Rideau Hall home of JustinTrudeau and family. I was most impressed at the number of tourists from many countries there who had lots of questions about the history and traditions of Canada.
On the 2017 labour day Weekend , Rita and I found ourselves celebrating our 52nd wedding anniversary on Vancouver Island with friends. What a nice opportunity to check out Pickleball
on the Island . One of my friends Pat Orpen was nice enough to invite me to play with the well established program for Parksville run by the Bohms , husband and wife who teach in the two of three
potential outdoor venues. On the Lacrosse box venue where I played twice, the players were very amenable , Mrs Bohm giving me her husband’s card and welcoming me to the courts . Players were
new to intermediate and new players were moved to another court for instruction. The surface was unpolished concrete thus a little hard on the feet . The potential for alternating groups was there
with signs indicating “ who’s next “ , winners and almost winners. Some do this with paddle “ sox” or just on the fence. This program is free .
A short distance from here there was visible 8 courts on a tennis facility, fenced, and marked as overlay to the tennis courts. It contained eight tennis courts where the players were over 55 and were ranked and rated in a private club structure as found in the USA . A fee is paid per year as well a fee is charged per visit if one is not a member . This venue seemed well attended. In the aggregate is appears that the potential is being reached of 70 to 80 players per day, on the outdoor venues provided by parks and Rec. They also have an indoor facility for wintertime. Surrounding communities also have indoor and outdoor facilities ( Nanaimo , Courtney, Comox and Cumberland and Ladysmith. Further afield programs in Campbell River and Port Alberni , Miller lake are also growing .
While in Parksville we thought , that for novelty and to appeal to youth potential pickleball players that they could try Smashball on the large sandlot provided adjacent to the tennis courts . This sport is played in various ways ( beach pickleball, shinny pickleball , one on one , etc ) it is played with a small hard ball – no net and no court required – just distance from each other predetermined. If the ball is wide, you can dive for it ! Ho Ho . The sand here is light coloured and soft, so it would make an interesting addition to the Parksville landscape and I think it would bring many young people to the Smashball venue. This is also touted by the largest USA internet site for Pickleball as a a related sport to us and to Table tennis as well as tennis. They also advertise all the related paddles on their website namely, tennis, table tennis, and pickleball and Smashball. ( see link above )
Finally, as summer recedes and rain has finally arrived , many see this as a relief from the summer fires in BC and elsewhere – only to be replaced by southern floods . I find it a laudable trait that the last
two communities that BC pickleball has taught , namely Williams Lake and Princeton have both continued to play and grow their programs throughout the record fires and smoke in the province of BC. We
Picklers are tough eh. In the larger picture, more and more of our programs are achieving maturity status with both indoor and outdoor programs flourishing to overflow capacity. This begs the question,
what next ? Tony Casey. our new board member responsible for national and international as well as provincial relations is prepared to host a group who would address this question. INTERESTED ?
Please contact him at .
www.bcpickleball.com official and registered for BC
ph – 604-536-9602
A SPECIAL DAY
Once in a lifetime a person has the opportunity to experience a total eclipse of the sun in their own area. Such excitement their was yesterday when 22 hardy souls met on our favorite pickleball courts at Centennial park for two hours including the time designated for the darkness to envelop us . Prior to this many had tried to buy special glasses to protect from the Sun’s UV rays . Others like my wife built boxes out of Christies cracker boxes replete with aluminum pinholes and peep holes to see the reflection of the sun . Jacquie Gray Pictured above found out she did a selfie pose and catch the reflection of the Eclipse on her cell phone. While doing that she figured she might as well take a picture . This is what came out.
While playing our games of Pickleball , we noticed that the surface became a little spotty , then darkened but not totally – so overall this Eclipse was not quite what it was touted to have been. Everyone had a good time , attempting to keep as fit as we can – thus helping in our small way to fulfill the BC gov’t target of a 20% fitter provincial polulace by 2020 . What a great worthwhile objective which fits right into healthier life styles and less of a burden on the health care system. No wonder Pickleball ” a game for all ” is the fastest growing sport in North America. Many more countries are hoping on the bandwagon to get a new income stream for their communities . At South Surrey , next door to Centennial Park, activating the 12 courts adjacent to the 10 indoor courts plus centennial puts us at 26 courts in total – with hopefully 4 more to come at Centennial = 30 courts. That is a huge complex of courts and has allowed Pickleball to double
its numbers per week in this area. Hence, if Rec centers will not provide times for Pickleball at convenient times for Seniors, adult, families and youth – we have no alternative than to move outdoors
which may cost them some income. That is the tradeoff .
As we move into dedicated courts and better spring, summer , fall weather, more people will move outdoor to play. In a way this is a shame as the Rec centers are air conditioned in the main, heated in winter and have staff trained in kinesiology, etc, and are quite qualified, or with a short course could teach in the Rec centers but the centers have been slow to pick up here , so the sanctioned players will fill in the gap. Anyway, our special day on the courts will be remembered by many for years to come. Thanks to all who showed up and braved the UNKNOWN .
Yours in sport and health,
bcpickleballAssoc ( active)
Founding director – pickleballcanada ( ret)
ph – 604-536-9602
On Monday, August 9, 2017, Douglas Park Community Centre joined other 15 Vancouver community centres to schedule Pickleball on their weekly roaster with 4 players and 2 instructors dispatched by BC Pickleball Association participating. The program is billed as a “pilot” program for the upcoming fall season’s 3 times/week programming, testing the field with just one play time a week during the month of August.
A brand new player with no experience was given an introductory lesson with the certified volunteer instructors using one of the two courts provided with portable nets, while 4 experienced players enjoyed continuous plays, altering the training role with the instructors.
The gym had a small performing stage on the side and the play space was a bit tight, having two courts placed side by side with just a foot in between and two feet against the side walls, though there were plenty of space in the rear ends. The ceiling was a bit lower than a normal gym height but it was quite playable so long as one does not lob his/her ball too high.
The “pilot’ program is to run every Wed during August, and a full schedule is set to go in September, 2017 as below. Their Saturday program is billed as “family PBall,” opening the doors to all families. The program offers a rare play time for younger pickleballers, who could enjoy the game together with their siblings and parents.
Douglas Park – 604.257.8130
801 W 22nd Ave – NEW LOCATION!!
Mon/Wed, 12:45-2:15 pm (Starts on September 11, 2017)
Sat, 11:30 am-1 pm – Family PBall
Along with Douglas Park CC, September will bring the game to Mount Pleasant and Kensigton CCs as they join the fast growing Pickleball boom in Vancouver, making it a total of 18 locations with 38 regularly scheduled play times each week!
Volunteer PBall Fascilitator
VP, BC Pickleball Association
NationalPBday – Video by Bill MacGregor
A beautiful day met 19 players at centennial park on Saturday Aug 12 to help celebrate National Pickleball Day. All four courts were in full operation all morning and produced many more
times the number of players that tennis had that morning. This has been an observable and growing trend with between 16 and 34 players showing up on most days. These include now, Monday,
Wednesday , Friday and Saturday 9-11 or so, Sunday morning , same time and Tuesday evening 6:00 to 8;00 pm. This gives us Thursday only for teaching new players or doing certifications for
instructors courses. We now have over 300 instructors certified by BC pickleball Assoc.
As Founding Director , I would like to thank all of those instructors from all parts of the province for their steadfast loyalty to BC pickleball and their efforts to grow the sport like they have done.
It is to their credit, not mine, that our sport is seen to be the fastest growing in Canada and indeed, North America. They have been active for 12 years in the schools, in the community centers,
in clinics, in the outdoor, with private lessons and group instructions . Anyone who plays our sport, and knows one of these certified instructors ,should tell them how much their efforts are
appreciated. Our provincial imitators – Pickleball BC , while posing as interested in BC , really represent pickleball Canada which is controlled and led by the Usapa, which is the official arm of
pickleball Usa. Their interest lies south of the border and their fees, aggressiveness in all the provinces show their bias in many ways. Pickleball is a simple, friendly sport, based on family values and relationships. If we can maintain that , it will grow much bigger. Even tennis realizes that it failed to bring youth to its sport due to cost concerns and eliteness of Its outlook.
More than one BC association is not needed, if each community would support the organization that they have. This requires communication from each program , a willingness to work together,
and celebrate the many local players and organizers at the grass roots level. It is always easy to ” let the other person do it ” eh . This spring BC pickleball assoc started two new programs , one in
Princeton and a second in Williams Lake . Both are thriving, Also in the mix was Marpole / Oakridge Rec center as well as Killarney and Douglas park Rec centers. To round out our program was a
12 week schedule of evening teaching at Timms Rec in langley, and the Richmond country club. To round out the effort was three elementary schools Forsyth elementary – Surrey, St Bernadette’s Surrey
and Star of the Sea school , Surrey.
This summer of 2017 will long be remembered as the best Pickleball summer in memory . Perfect weather, many new outdoor programs, many tournaments ( without rainouts ) and strong growth of
our sport. We have also received many mentions in the ” Coffee news “-( what’s happening section ) in newspapers and national magazines as well as Global TV nationally . The pickleball channel sponsored by ” leg cramps” in the USA is free and worthwhile for competitive players to download and we look forward to something similar in the near future for BC.
Recently, I have had several inquiries about the template for pickleball – a one week schedule to include all levels of play as well as beginner lessons and public open times for a 4 court system. This
would require about 2-300 players to make it work in its entirety but parts can be adapated by any group and to put it into use does not require ranking , nor ratings, nor a club ( for profit ) system. It is
posted for your convenience on the WWW.BCPICKLEBALL.COM website . Should you have any questions, you may e mail me or call direct 604-536-9602 . Just download it and post it on the fence.
Please enjoy the changing colours of the fall trees and blooms – Keep your shots low and true……
Yours in sport and health,
Founding Director – www.pickleballcanada.org ( ret)
Founding Director- www.bcpickleball.com ( active)
ph – 604-536-9602
Photos by Amber Oram