Friday, February 8, 2013

Tournament Day!

After the player social - it was back to the room for a good night's sleep.  The next two days would be very very busy.  The alarm was set for 5:30.

The day began with the free continental breakfast at the hotel.  A nice set up with waffles and an array of fruit, cereal, toast, boiled eggs and pastry, coffee and juice.  Rich seldom eats that early in the morning - so today was no exception.  I grabbed a bowl of cereal and a glass of juice and then we headed for the East Naples Community Park, just 15 minutes from the hotel.  We arrived about 7:00 and began helping to set up the booths which would house the players table, the referee table, Pickleball Specialties  and Pickleball Inc who would be selling pickleball goods!

As you can see from the picture, the weather had turned a bit cool overnight - so players were arriving in sweat shirts and sweat pants to stay warm.  But it wouldn't be long before the sun was out and the games would generate some great competition.    I'm not sure what the final count was - but the tournament drew close to 250 players, representing 25 states across the country and 2 Canadian Provinces.  We had sixteen lighted pickleball courts set up.  The two time National Champion, Jennifer Lucour came to play as did National Champion Phil Bagly.  They took the gold medal in the 19+ age group.

I, and Rich when he was not playing, spent most of our day, until about 7:00 in the evening monitoring courts, looking for referees, or refereeing ourselves. Believe me - it is much more taxing on the body running a tournament and monitoring courts to keep them active than it ever was competing as a player!  All of you know how much I love taking pictures, right?  Once the tournament began I snapped FOUR pictures of Rich playing with his partner Tom Burkhart from Louisiana.   Rich and Tom played in the 60+ age bracket and came home with the Bronze medal.

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