Pickleballers Become Olympic Medalists
For about 10 days every winter, seniors (50+) from southern Arizona have the chance to test themselves against competitors in a spectrum of over 30 activities, such as pistol shooting, basketball, softball, and...pickleball. These activities are the Tucson Senior Olympics, and this year marked the 25th anniversary. The pickleball events were again held at the Voyager RV Resort, south of Tucson, as Voyager is the only local facility with adequate court space at present.
Perhaps to the surprise of the Olympic organizers, but not to the surprise of active pickleball players, there were more athletes entered in pickleball than any other sport. This is further testament to the fact that pickleball continues to lead the nation in growth.
Because the pickleball events span several days, a number of the SaddleBrooke pickleballers took their motor homes to the site and set up a social and team support center. Other SaddleBrooke pickleballers joined in the fun by staying at the Voyager Inn, and there were many day trippers who made the drive just to cheer for their teammates.
SaddleBrooke pickleballers were entered in four categories as follows: Men’s Singles, Men’s Doubles, Women’s Doubles, and Mixed Doubles. Each category is then divided into age groups, with the result that the athletes face a variety of skill levels. (Tucson has and attracts some of the very best pickleballers in the country, including the number one male player.)
Our pickleballers did themselves and the SaddleBrooke club very proud in both the quality of their games and their sportsmanship. Medals were earned as follows: Gold - Carol Kula and Cathy Hill (Women’s Doubles); Silver - Dale White (Men’s Singles), Eileen Berst and Mary Littlewood (Women’s Doubles), Carol Kula and Ed Kula (Mixed Doubles); Bronze - Gale Bybee (Men’s Singles), Karen White and Mary Gajeske (Women’s Doubles), Eileen Berst and Bob Shelton (Mixed Doubles).
The SaddleBrooke Pickleball Association is a warm and welcoming group. They love the sport and are eager to help others learn to play. For more information on how you can get involved, contact Dave Patterson at 818-6589 or Davepat38@aol.com. Free introductory lessons are available with equipment provided.